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Methods coming from statistics and pattern recognition to estimate the cloud mask from radiance measured by visible and infrared sensors on board satellites are gaining greater consideration for their ability to properly exploit the increasing number of channels available with current and next-generation sensors. Endowed with physical arguments, they give rise to robust methods for accurately estimating the cloud mask. Application of such classification methods to Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data is discussed in this paper. Three different types of MODIS datasets are considered: synthetic (radiance is simulated by proper radiative transfer models); annotated (real MODIS data labeled by a meteorologist as clear or cloudy); and real MODIS data, whose truth is obtained from the official MODIS cloud mask product. A full assessment of the MODIS spectral bands is performed, aimed at understanding the role of the spectral bands in detecting clouds and at achieving top performance with very few properly chosen spectral channels. Local methods that use spatial correlation of images to improve classification, reducing the pseudonuisance of nonlocal methods, have also been tested on real data.
Publication date: 
1 Feb 2014

Loredana Murino, Umberto Amato, Maria Francesca Carfora, Anestis Antoniadis, Bormin Huang, W Paul Menzel, Carmine Serio

Biblio References: 
Volume: 31 Issue: 2 Pages: 347-365
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology