Illuminating the capabilities of Landsat 8 for mapping night lights

Levin, Noam and Phinn, Stuart (2016) Illuminating the capabilities of Landsat 8 for mapping night lights. Remote Sensing of Environment, 182 27-38. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2016.04.021

Author Levin, Noam
Phinn, Stuart
Title Illuminating the capabilities of Landsat 8 for mapping night lights
Journal name Remote Sensing of Environment   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0034-4257
Publication date 2016-09-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.rse.2016.04.021
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 182
Start page 27
End page 38
Total pages 12
Place of publication New York, NY United States
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Remote sensing of night-lights has been enhanced in recent years with the availability of the new VIIRS Day and Night band, the commercial EROS-B satellite and astronaut photographs from the International Space Station. However, dedicated space-borne multispectral sensors offering radiance calibrated night lights imagery are yet to be launched. Here we examined the capabilities of Landsat 8 to acquire night time light images of the Earth. Examining seven night-time Landsat 8 scenes, we found that brightly lit areas in both urban (Berlin, Las Vegas, Nagoya and Tel-Aviv) and gas flares (Basra, Kuwait) areas were detected in all eight bands of Landsat 8. The threshold for detection of lit areas was approximately 0.4 W/m2/μm/sr in bands 1–5 and 8 of Landsat 8. This threshold level was higher than Landsat dark noise levels, and slightly lower than post launch Landsat 8 OLI band dependent noise equivalent radiance difference levels. Drawing on this, we call on the USGS to plan an annual night-time acquisition of urban and gas flares areas globally, and to enable the performance of the future Landsat 10 to be established in a way that it will be sensitive enough to image the Earth at night, thus performing as Nightsat during the night.
Keyword Landsat 8
Night lights
Gas flares
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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