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‘Atmospheric condition improves satellite measurements’

US: Students from Howard University and Georgia Institute of Technology, US, claimed that local atmospheric conditions can improve the accuracy of satellite surface imagery. They published their findings in the online edition of the journal Remote Sensing Letters.

The students flew over Southern California aboard NASA’s DC-8 airborne science laboratory and operated NASA’s MODIS and ASTER remote sensing instruments. The flight was guided by forecasts from the University of Iowa (UI) Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER).

When processing the images they collected, the students found that using CGRER’s regional model forecasts for local weather and air quality substantially improved sea surface temperature measurements and also increased the sensitivity of measurements over cities and areas covered by vegetation.

Using CGRER model results was found to be an improvement over standard approaches to calculating surface measurements from satellite images, which incorporate a one-size-fits-all average for weather and trace gas concentrations.

“This new approach can help improve the global satellite record of the Earth’s surface and oceans, by taking better daily snapshots of how human activity affects them over time,” Spak said. “This one change can improve our ability to accurately track a wide range of environmental questions, including urban heat islands, coastal algae blooms and the re-growth of deforested areas.”

Source: University of Iowa