It is possible to obtain useful maps of surface albedo from remotely sensed images by eliminating effects due to topography and the atmosphere, even when the atmospheric state is not known. A simple phenomenological model of earth radiance that depends on six empirically determined parameters is developed given certain simplifying assumptions. The model incorporates path radiance and illumination from sun and sky and their dependencies on surface altitude and orientation. It takes explicit account of surface shape, represented by a digital terrain model, and is therefore especially suited for use in mountainous terrain. A number of ways of determining the model parameters are discussed, including the use of shadows to obtain path radiance and to estimate local albedo and sky irradiance. The emphasis is on extracting as much information from the image as possible, given a digital terrain model of the imaged area and a minimum of site-specific atmospheric data. The albedo image, introduced as a representation of surface reflectance, provides a useful tool to evaluate the simple imaging model. Criteria for the subjective evaluation of albedo images are established and illustrated for Landsat multispectral data of a mountainous region of Switzerland. The method exposes some of the limitations found in computing reflectance information using only the image-forming equation.
© 1983 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: May 17, 1982
Published: June 1, 1983
Robert W. Sjoberg and Berthold K. P. Horn, "Atmospheric effects in satellite imaging of mountainous terrain," Appl. Opt. 22, 1702-1716 (1983)