Climate Change – Land Surface Reflectances for Land Cover and Land Cover Change

The objective of the ESA Climate Change Initiative ( is to realise the full potential of the long term global Earth Observation archives that ESA together with its Member States have established over the last 30 years, as a significant and timely contribution to the ECV ( databases required by the UNFCC ( Brockmann Consult is producing global land surface reflectances from various satellite missions which is the primary data source for the Land Cover ECV.
Climate change is arguably the greatest environmental challenge facing us in the twenty-first century. The consequences of a warming climate are far-reaching, potentially affecting fresh water resources, global food production and sea level. Threatening impacts on the natural environment and life on Earth for generations to come, climate change is high on political, strategic and economic agendas worldwide.
As part of the ESA Climate Change Inititiave (, the Land_Cover_cci project ( is concerned with the generation of the land cover ECV. Land cover is defined as the physical material at the surface of the earth. Land covers include grass, asphalt, trees, bare ground, water, etc.
The overall Land_Cover_cci objective is to critically revisit all algorithms required for the generation of a global land product in the light of GCOS requirements, and to design and demonstrate a prototype system delivering in a consistent way over years and from various EO instruments global land cover information matching the needs of key users’ belonging to the climate change community. The focus is placed on the ESA and Member States missions providing near daily global surface reflectance observation at moderate and high spatial resolution (MERIS FR & RR, SPOT VEGETATION, as well as Sentinel 2 for African coverage) as well as contributions of ESA SAR sensors for water bodies mapping.
The so-called preprocessing is the production step where all radiometric, geometric and atmospheric disturbances are removed, and the reflectance of the Earth surface is retrieved. The screening of clouds and cloud shadow is a key challenge in this step. This is the specific domain of expertise of Brockmann Consult.

  • Scientific development of preprocessing algorithms: cloud screening, pixel classification, atmospheric correction for various sensors: MERIS, SPOT-VGT, Proba-V, AVHRR, Sentinel 2 MSI
  • Error characterisation
  • Validation of algorithms
  • Development of software processors implementing the scientific algorithms (BEAM and SNAP)
  • Development of production system for mass production of large datasets (>100TB) using Calvalus
  • Production
  • Product Validation
  • Documentation and reporting