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The global availability of Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 7 ETM+ land surface observations and implications for global 30m Landsat data product generation

The global availability of Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 7 ETM+ land surface observations and implications for global 30m Landsat data product generation

Remote Sensing of Environment 130: 280-293

ISSN/ISBN: 0034-4257

DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2012.12.003

With the advent of the free U.S. Landsat data policy it is now feasible to consider the generation of global coverage 30m Landsat data sets with temporal reporting frequency similar to that provided by the monthly Web Enabled Landsat (WELD) products. A statistical Landsat metadata analysis is reported considering more than 800,000 Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 7 ETM+ acquisitions obtained from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center archive. The global monthly probabilities of acquiring a cloud-free land surface observation for December 1998 to November 2001 (2000 epoch) and from December 2008 to November 2011 (2010 epoch) are reported to assess the availability of the Landsat data in the USGS Landsat archive for global multi-temporal land remote sensing applications. The global probabilities of acquiring a cloud-free land surface observation in each of three different seasons with the highest seasonal probabilities of cloud-free land surface observation are reported, considering one, two and three years of Landsat data, to assess the availability of Landsat data for global land cover mapping. The probabilities are derived considering Landsat 5 TM only, Landsat 7 ETM+ only, and both sensors combined, to examine the relative benefits of using one or both Landsat sensors. The results demonstrate the utility of combing both Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 7 ETM+ data streams to take advantage of their different acquisition patterns and to mitigate the deleterious impact of the Landsat 7 ETM+ 2003 scan line failure. Sensor combination provided a greater global acquisition coverage with a 1.7% to 14.4% higher percentage of land locations acquired monthly compared to considering Landsat 7 ETM+ data alone. The mean global monthly probability of a cloud-free land surface observation for the combined sensors was up to nearly 1.4 and 6.7 times greater than for ETM+ and TM alone respectively. The probability of acquiring a cloud-free Landsat land surface observation in different seasons was greater when more years of data were considered and when both Landsat sensor data were combined. Considering combined sensors and 36months of data, 86.4% and 84.2% of the global land locations had probabilities ?0.95 for the 2000 and 2010 epochs respectively, with a global mean probability of 0.92 (? 0.24) for the 2000 epoch and 0.90 (? 0.28) for the 2010 epoch. These results indicate that 36months of combined Landsat sensor data will provide sufficient land surface observations for 30m global land cover mapping using a multi-temporal supervised classification scheme. The impact of clouds and SLC_OFF on availability of clear Landsat land observations. Combing Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 7 ETM+ data streams is advantages. Compare to ETM+ alone both sensors provide up to 14.4% higher monthly land coverage. 36 months of combined Landsat 5 and 7 data can support 30m global land cover mapping.

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