Calibration of Landsat thermal data and application to water resource studies

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Title: Calibration of Landsat thermal data and application to water resource studies
Author: Schott, John; Barsi, Julia; Nordgren, Bryce; Raqueno, Nina; de Alwis, Dilkushi
Abstract: The newest in the Landsat series of satellites was launched April 15, 1999. The imagery collected by Landsat is used for a myriad of applications, from coral reef studies to land management. In order to take advantage of Landsat 7 data, the Enhanced Thematic Mapper+ (ETM+) instrument must be calibrated. This study focuses on the immediate postlaunch calibration verification of the Landsat 7 thermal band (Band 6), specifically so that it can be useful in water resource studies. Two year’s worth of thermal calibration results using a combination of underflight data and ground truth show the ETM+ to be extremely stable, though the prelaunch calibration produces an offset of 0.261 W/m2 sr mm. This paper focuses on the details of the calibration process, including problems faced with ground truth instrumentation. While the technical emphasis in this paper is the calibration of Landsat thermal data, it is presented in the context of the water resource studies for which calibrated thermal data are required. At certain times in the year, water quality in large lakes, particularly the spatial structure of water quality, is driven by temperature of lake waters. During the spring warming, a phenomena called the thermal bar drives the current and sedimentation of large water bodies. A long-term goal of this study is to use thermally driven hydrodynamic models of lake processes to better understand and monitor water quality in large lakes. This paper presents the hydrodynamic model and the relationship between temperature and water quality in the Great Lakes as one example of why high-resolution, well-calibrated data are critical to earth observing.
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Date: 2001-10

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