Comparing Spectral Characteristics of Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 Same-Day Data for Arctic-Boreal Regions

alexandra.runge [ at ]


The Arctic-Boreal regions experience strong changes of air temperature and precipitation regimes, which affect the thermal state of the permafrost. This results in widespread permafrost-thaw disturbances, some unfolding slowly and over long periods, others occurring rapidly and abruptly. Despite optical remote sensing offering a variety of techniques to assess and monitor landscape changes, a persistent cloud cover decreases the amount of usable images considerably. However, combining data from multiple platforms promises to increase the number of images drastically. We therefore assess the comparability of Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 imagery and the possibility to use both Landsat and Sentinel-2 images together in time series analyses, achieving a temporally-dense data coverage in Arctic-Boreal regions. We determined overlapping same-day acquisitions of Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 images for three representative study sites in Eastern Siberia. We then compared the Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 pixel-pairs, downscaled to 60 m, of corresponding bands and derived the ordinary least squares regression for every band combination. The acquired coefficients were used for spectral bandpass adjustment between the two sensors. The spectral band comparisons showed an overall good fit between Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 images already. The ordinary least squares regression analyses underline the generally good spectral fit with intercept values between 0.0031 and 0.056 and slope values between 0.531 and 0.877. A spectral comparison after spectral bandpass adjustment of Sentinel-2 values to Landsat-8 shows a nearly perfect alignment between the same-day images. The spectral band adjustment succeeds in adjusting Sentinel-2 spectral values to Landsat-8 very well in Eastern Siberian Arctic-Boreal landscapes. After spectral adjustment, Landsat and Sentinel-2 data can be used to create temporally-dense time series and be applied to assess permafrost landscape changes in Eastern Siberia. Remaining differences between the sensors can be attributed to several factors including heterogeneous terrain, poor cloud and cloud shadow masking, and mixed pixels.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.3390/rs11141730

Cite as
Runge, A. and Grosse, G. (2019): Comparing Spectral Characteristics of Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 Same-Day Data for Arctic-Boreal Regions , Remote Sensing, 11 , p. 1730 . doi: 10.3390/rs11141730


Download (2MB) | Preview



Research Platforms


Funded by

Edit Item Edit Item