A coordinated effort on the part of several agencies has led to the specification of a definitive radiometric calibration record for the Landsat-5 thematic mapper (TM) for its lifetime since launch in 1984. The time-dependent calibration record for Landsat-5 TM has been placed on the same radiometric scale as the Landsat-7 enhanced thematic mapper plus (ETM+). It has been implemented in the National Landsat Archive Production Systems (NLAPS) in use in North America. This paper documents the results of this collaborative effort and the specifications for the related calibration processing algorithms. The specifications include (i) anchoring of the Landsat-5 TM calibration record to the Landsat-7 ETM+ absolute radiometric calibration, (ii) new time-dependent calibration processing equations and procedures applicable to raw Landsat-5 TM data, and (iii) algorithms for recalibration computations applicable to some of the existing processed datasets in the North American context. The cross-calibration between Landsat-5 TM and Landsat-7 ETM+ was achieved using image pairs from the tandem-orbit configuration period that was programmed early in the Landsat-7 mission. The time-dependent calibration for Landsat-5 TM is based on a detailed trend analysis of data from the on-board internal calibrator. The new lifetime radiometric calibration record for Landsat-5 will overcome problems with earlier product generation owing to inadequate maintenance and documentation of the calibration over time and will facilitate the quantitative examination of a continuous, near-global dataset at 30-m scale that spans almost two decades.

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The work presented in this paper has been supported by the Landsat Project Science Office, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and NASA grant NAG5-2448 to the University of Arizona and NASA grants NAG5-3540 and NAG5-3445 to South Dakota State University. The authors are also pleased to acknowledge the generous contributions of time and information by Brian Robertson, Shu Cheung Tang, and Pat Campbell of Macdonald Dettwiler and Associates, Don Herriot of RADARSAT International, and Esad Micijevic of South Dakota State University.ISSN:0703-8992 Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


RIT – Main Campus