Analyzing temporal series of satellite data for regional scale studies demand high accuracy in calibration and precise geo-rectification at higher spatial resolution. The Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensor aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) series of satellites provide daily observations for the last 30 years at a nominal resolution of 1.1 km at nadir. However, complexities due to on-board malfunctions and orbital drifts with the earlier missions hinder the usage of these images at their original resolution. In this study, we developed a new method using multiple open source tools which can read level 1B radiances, apply solar and thermal calibration to the channels, remove bow-tie effects on wider zenith angles, correct for clock drifts on earlier images and perform precise geo-rectification by automated generation and filtering of ground control points using a feature matching technique. The entire workflow is reproducible and extendable to any other geographical location. We developed a time series of brightness temperature maps from AVHRR local area coverage images covering the sub alpine lakes of Northern Italy at 1 km resolution (1986-2014; 28 years). For the validation of derived brightness temperatures, we extracted Lake Surface Water Temperature (LSWT) for Lake Garda in Northern Italy and performed inter-platform (NOAA-x vs. NOAA-y) and cross-platform (NOAA-x vs. MODIS/ATSR/AATSR) comparisons. The MAE calculated over available same day observations between the pairs-NOAA-12/14, NOAA-17/18 and NOAA-18/19 are 1.18 K, 0.67 K, 0.35 K, respectively. Similarly, for cross-platform pairs, the MAE varied between 0.5 to 1.5 K. The validation of LSWT from various NOAA instruments with in-situ data shows high accuracy with mean R-2 and RMSE of 0.97 and 0.91 K respectively.
2016. Vol. 8, no 3