The first year of available Landsat 8 data over the conterminous United States (CONUS), composed of 11,296 acquisitions sensed over more than 11 thousand million 30 m pixel locations, was analyzed comparing the spatial and temporal incidence of 30 m cloud and cirrus states available in the standard Landsat 8 Level 1 product suite. This comprehensive data analysis revealed that on average over a year of CONUS observations (i) 35.9% were detected with high confidence cloud, with spatio-temporal patterns similar to those observed by previous Landsat 5 and 7 cloud analyses; (ii) 28.2% were high confidence cirrus; (iii) 20.1% were both high confidence cloud and high confidence cirrus; and (iv) 6.9% were detected as high confidence cirrus but low confidence cloud. The results illustrate the potential of the 30 m cloud and cirrus states available in the standard Landsat 8 Level 1 product suite but imply that the historical CONUS Landsat archive has about 7% of undetected cirrus contaminated pixels. Systematic cloud detection commission errors over a minority of highly reflective exposed soil/sand surfaces were found and it is recommended that caution be taken when using the currently available Landsat 8 cloud data over similar surfaces.
Remote Sensing of Environment
DOI of Published Version
Prasad S. Thenkabail
MDPI, Basel, Switzerland
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Kovalskyy, Valeriy and Roy, David P., "A One Year Landsat 8 Conterminous United States Study of Cirrus and Non-Cirrus Clouds" (2015). GSCE Faculty Publications. 46.