Bi-spectral infrared algorithm for cloud coverage over oceans by the jem-euso mission program Articles uri icon

publication date

  • October 2021

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 21


  • 19


  • 21

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1424-3210

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1424-8220


  • The need to monitor specific areas for different applications requires high spatial and temporal resolution. This need has led to the proliferation of ad hoc systems on board nanosatellites, drones, etc. These systems require low cost, low power consumption, and low weight. The work we present follows this trend. Specifically, this article evaluates a method to determine the cloud map from the images provided by a simple bi-spectral infrared camera within the framework of JEM-EUSO (The Joint Experiment Missions-Extrem Universe Space Observatory). This program involves different experiments whose aim is determining properties of Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Ray (UHECR) via the detection of atmospheric fluorescence light. Since some of those projects use UV instruments on board space platforms, they require knowledge of the cloudiness state in the FoV of the instrument. For that reason, some systems will include an infrared (IR) camera. This study presents a test to generate a binary cloudiness mask (CM) over the ocean, employing bi-spectral IR data. The database is created from Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data (bands 31 and 32). The CM is based on a split-window algorithm. It uses an estimation of the brightness temperature calculated from a statistical study of an IR images database along with an ancillary sea surface temperature. This statistical procedure to obtain the estimate of the brightness temperature is one of the novel contributions of this work. The difference between the measured and estimation of the brightness temperature determines whether a pixel is cover or clear. That classification requires defining several thresholds which depend on the scenarios. The procedure for determining those thresholds is also novel. Then, the results of the algorithm are compared with the MODIS CM. The agreement is above 90%. The performance of the proposed CM is similar to that of other studies. The validation also shows that cloud edges concentrate the vast majority of discrepancies with the MODIS CM. The relatively high accuracy of the algorithm is a relevant result for the JEM-EUSO program. Further work will combine the proposed algorithm with complementary studies in the framework of JEM-EUSO to reinforce the CM above the cloud edges.


  • Industrial Engineering


  • cloud coverage; infrared camera; jem-euso; remote sensing; split-window algorithm