Mapping Antarctica using Landsat-8 – the preliminary results

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Xiao Cheng1, Fengming Hui1 and Xin Qi2, (1)Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, (2)Polar Research Institute of China, Shanghai, China
The first Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA) was released in 2009, which was created by USGS, BAS, and NASA from more than 1,000 Landsat ETM+ scenes. As the first major scientific outcome of the IPY, LIMA supports current scientific polar research, encourages new projects, and helps the general public visualize Antarctica and changes happening to this southernmost environment.

As the latest satellite of Landsat mission, the Landsat-8 images the entire Earth every 16 days in an 8-day offset from Landsat-7. Data collected by the instruments onboard the satellite are available to download at no charge within 24 hours of reception. The standard Landsat 8 products provided by the USGS EROS Center consist of quantized and calibrated scaled Digital Numbers (DN) in 16-bit unsigned integer format and can be rescaled to the Top Of Atmosphere (TOA) reflectance and/or radiance.

With the support of USGS portal, we searched and downloaded more than 1600 scenes of Level 1 T- Terrain Corrected Landsat 8 image products covering Antarctica from late 2013 to early 2014. These data were converted to planetary radiance for further processing. Since the distribution of clouds in these images are random and much complicated, statistics on the distribution of clouds were performed and then help to decide masking those thicker cloud to keep more useful information left and avoid observation holes.

A preliminary result of the Landsat-8 mosaic of Antarctica under the joint efforts of Beijing Normal University, NSIDC and University of Maryland will be released on this AGU fall meeting. Comparison between Landsat 7 and 8 mosaic products will also be done to find the difference or advantage of the two products.