EXTRACTION OF CLOUD HEIGHTS FROM SENTINEL-2 MULTISPECTRAL IMAGES
Keywords: Sentinel-2, Inter-Band-Parallax, Clouds, DEM generation, Semi-Global-Matching
Abstract. Investigation of the focal plane assembly of the Sentinel-2 satellites show slight delays in the acquisition time of different bands on different CCD lines of about 0.5 to 1 second. This effect was already exploited in the detection of moving objects in very high resolution imagery as from WorldView-2 or -3 and also already for Sentinel-2 imagery. In our study we use the four 10-m-bands 2, 3, 4 and 8 (blue, green, red and near infrared) of Sentinel-2. In the level 1C processing each spectral band gets orthorectified separately on the same digital elevation model. So on the one hand moving objects on the ground experience a shift between the spectral bands. On the other hand objects not on the ground also show a slight shift between the spectral bands depending on the height of the object above ground. In this work we use this second effect. Analysis of cloudy Sentinel-2 scenes show small shifts of only one to two pixels depending on the height of the clouds above ground. So a new method based on algorithms for deriving dense digital elevation models from stereo imagery was developed to derive the cloud heights in Sentinel-2 images from the parallax from the 10-m-bands. After detailed description of the developed method it is applied to different cloudy Sentinel-2 images and the results are cross-checked using the shadows of the clouds together with the position of the sun at acquisition time.