Image1_Terrain-Based Shadow Correction Method for Assessing Supraglacial Features on the Greenland Ice Sheet.JPEG (317.6 kB)
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Image1_Terrain-Based Shadow Correction Method for Assessing Supraglacial Features on the Greenland Ice Sheet.JPEG

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posted on 06.08.2021, 07:50 by Sasha. Z. Leidman, Åsa K. Rennermalm, Richard G. Lathrop, Matthew. G. Cooper

The presence of shadows in remotely sensed images can reduce the accuracy of land surface classifications. Commonly used methods for removing shadows often use multi-spectral image analysis techniques that perform poorly for dark objects, complex geometric models, or shaded relief methods that do not account for shadows cast on adjacent terrain. Here we present a new method of removing topographic shadows using readily available GIS software. The method corrects for cast shadows, reduces the amount of over-correction, and can be performed on imagery of any spectral resolution. We demonstrate this method using imagery collected with an uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) over a supraglacial stream catchment in southwest Greenland. The structure-from-motion digital elevation model showed highly variable topography resulting in substantial shadowing and variable reflectance values for similar surface types. The distribution of bare ice, sediment, and water within the catchment was determined using a supervised classification scheme applied to the corrected and original UAV images. The correction resulted in an insignificant change in overall classification accuracy, however, visual inspection showed that the corrected classification more closely followed the expected distribution of classes indicating that shadow correction can aid in identification of glaciological features hidden within shadowed regions. Shadow correction also caused a substantial decrease in the areal coverage of dark sediment. Sediment cover was highly dependent on the degree of shadow correction (k coefficient), yet, for a correction coefficient optimized to maximize shadow brightness without over-exposing illuminated surfaces, terrain correction resulted in a 49% decrease in the area covered by sediment and a 29% increase in the area covered by water. Shadow correction therefore reduces the overestimation of the dark surface coverage due to shadowing and is a useful tool for investigating supraglacial processes and land cover change over a wide variety of complex terrain.

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