CLOUD DETECTION FOR NIGHT-TIME PANCHROMATIC VISIBLE AND NEAR-INFRARED SATELLITE IMAGERY
Keywords: Cloud Detection, Day-Night-Band, Moon Illumination, Night-Time Satellite Imagery, Random Forest, Urban Areas
Abstract. Cloud detection for night-time panchromatic visible and near-infrared (VNIR) satellite imagery is typically performed based on synchronized observations in the thermal infrared (TIR). To be independent of TIR and to improve existing algorithms, we realize and analyze cloud detection based on VNIR only, here NPP/VIIRS/DNB observations. Using Random Forest for classifying cloud vs. clear and focusing on urban areas, we illustrate the importance of features describing a) the scattering by clouds especially over urban areas with their inhomogeneous light emissions and b) the normalized differences between Earth’s surface and cloud albedo especially in presence of Moon illumination. The analyses substantiate the influences of a) the training site and scene selections and b) the consideration of single scene or multi-temporal scene features on the results for the test sites. As test sites, diverse urban areas and the challenging land covers ocean, desert, and snow are considered. Accuracies of up to 85% are achieved for urban test sites.