The article describes a novel approach to estimate and calibrate column water vapour (CWV), a key parameter for atmospheric correction of remote-sensing data. CWV is spatially and temporally variable, and image-based methods are used for its inference. This inference, however, is affected by methodological and numeric limitations, which likely propagate to reflectance estimates. In this article, a method is proposed to estimate CWV iteratively from target surface reflectances. The method is free from assumptions for at sensor radiance-based CWV estimation methods. We consider two cases: (a) CWV is incorrectly estimated in a processing chain and (b) CWV is not estimated in a processing chain. To solve (a) we use the incorrect estimations as initial values to the proposed method during calibration. In (b), CWV is estimated without initial information. Next, we combined the two scenarios, resulting in a generic method to calibrate and estimate CWV. We utilized the hyperspectral mapper (HyMap) and airborne prism experiment (APEX) instruments for the synthetic and real data experiments, respectively. Noise levels were added to the synthetic data to simulate real imaging conditions. The real data used in this research are cloud-free scenes acquired from the airborne campaigns. For performance assessment, we compared the proposed method with two state-of-the-art methods. Our method performed better as it minimizes the absolute error close to zero, only within 8–10 iterations. It thus suits existing operational chains where the number of iterations is considerable. Finally, the method is simple to implement and can be extended to address other atmospheric trace gases.
- Hybrid deal