First Global Analysis of Saturation Artifacts in the VIIRS Infrared Channels and the Effects of Detector Aggregation

Friday, 19 December 2014
Jun Wang1, Thomas Norbert Polivka1, Edward J. Hyer2 and David A Peterson2, (1)University of Nebraska Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United States, (2)Naval Research Laboratory, Marine Meteorology Division, Monterey, CA, United States
Unlike previous space-borne Earth-observing sensors, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) employs aggregation to reduce downlink bandwidth requirements and preserve spatial resolution across the swath. To examine the potentially deleterious impacts of aggregation when encountering detector saturation, nearly four months of NOAA’s Nightfire product were analyzed, which contains a subset of the hottest observed nighttime pixels. An empirical method for identifying saturation was devised. The 3.69 µm band (M12) was the most frequently-saturating band with 0.15% of the Nightfire pixels at or near the ~359 K hard saturation limit, with possible saturation also occurring in M14, M15, and M16. Artifacts consistent with detector saturation were seen with M12 temperatures as low as 330 K in the scene center. This partial saturation and aggregation influence must be considered when using VIIRS radiances for quantitative characterization of hot emission sources such as fires and gas flaring.