The odds to find snow in St. Moritz

Did you know that the St. Moritz Casino is the highest in Switzerland? If you like gambling, I have a little game for you: what are the odds to find snow near St. Moritz?

Fortunately, I just finished the processing of 218 Sentinel-2 dates from 2015-Dec-04 to 2018-Apr-10 of tile 32TNS with our let-it-snow processor. I did this off-line production for a colleague because, as of today, Theia only distributes the snow products after July 2017 in this region of Switzerland (see the available products here).
A quick way to check the output is to compute a snow cover probability map: that is, for each pixel, the number of times that snow was observed divided by the number of times that the snow could be observed.
To compute this map we just need to know that the Theia snow products (LIS_SEB.TIF raster files) are coded as follows:
0: No-snow
100: Snow
205: Cloud including cloud shadow
254: No data
Here is a piece of script to do this:

# initialize snow.tif with zeros
# store in Byte because we have less than 255 dates
f0=$(find . -name LIS_SEB.TIF | head -1) --overwrite -A $f0 --type=Byte --calc=A*0 --outfile=snow.tif
# accumulate snow pixels in snow.tif
for f in $(find . -name LIS_SEB.TIF)
# snow is coded with 100 --overwrite -A $f -B snow.tif --type=Byte --calc="B+(A==100)" --outfile=snow.tif

# now do the same for clear.tif
# init --overwrite -A $f0 --type=Byte --calc=A*0 --outfile=clear.tif
# accumulate clear pixels in clear.tif
for f in $(find . -name LIS_SEB.TIF)
# only snow and no snow are coded with values lower than 101 --overwrite -A $f -B clear.tif --type=Byte --calc="B+(A<101)" --outfile=clear.tif

# Finally compute the snow probability in % (100.0* makes the calculation in float) -A snow.tif -B clear.tif --type=Byte --calc="(100.0*A)/B" --outfile=snowProba.tif

This is the output:

The images are scaled from 0 (black) to 100 (white). The units are number of days for snow and clear, percentage for snowProba.


From which you can map the odds to find snow near St. Moritz (click on the image to animate)!

[MUSCATE news] Early Sentinel-2B L2A images over France are available


MUSCATE sentinel-2 L2A counter just reached 80000 products, but a lot more products were processed these past weeks. Indeed, the MUSCATE team started processing the early Sentinel-2B images acquired from July to October 2017, which were missing on our catalog. Indeed. We only started Level 2A treatments in October 2017, in real time (a bit late, but before the ESA;)). We take advantage of this processing to reprocess Sentinel-2A data, since the quality of the products from MAJA improves with the repetitiveness of the observations. And since we replace old versions with new ones (v 1.7), the product counter is not affected by the reprocessing of S2A data.


The reprocessing of data on France and its overseas territories is finished, and the treatment of the other European zones is in progress. We will continue soon with the African zones then those of the rest of the world. If you are using the Sentinel-2 data acquired in the second half of 2017, we encourage you to download them again. We took advantage of this reprocessing to also produce snow products in the France area.






[Nouvelles de MUSCATE] Le traitement au niveau 2A des anciennes données Sentinel-2B sur la France est terminé

Le compteur de produits de Niveau 2A de Sentinel-2 de MUSCATE vient de franchir les 80000 produits, mais en fait, MUSCATE en a produit beaucoup plus. En effet, l'équipe d'exploitation (Joel, Raquel, Sylvie) a commencé à traiter les données de Sentinel-2B acquises de juillet à octobre 2017, qui manquaient dans notre catalogue. Nous n'avions démarré les traitements de niveau 2A qu'en octobre 2017, en temps réel (avec un peu de retard, mais avant l'ESA ;) ). Nous profitons de ce traitement pour retraiter les données Sentinel-2A, puisque la qualité des produits issus de MAJA s'améliore avec la répétitivité des observations. Et comme nous remplaçons les anciennes versions par les nouvelles (v 1.7), le compteur de produits n'est pas affecté par le retraitement des données S2A.



Le retraitement des données sur la France et ses territoires d'outre-mer est terminé, et le traitement des autres zones Européennes est en cours. Nous poursuivrons prochainement avec les zones Africaines puis celles du reste du monde. Si vous utilisez les données Sentinel-2 acquises au deuxième semestre 2017, nous vous encourageons donc a les télécharger à nouveau. Nous avons profité de ce retraitement pour produire également les produits neige sur la zone France.


Venµs captured the orange snow in the Pyrenees

Theia just published the first Venµs images today, including a beautiful view of the Pyrenees. Once you have dezipped/untared/unzipped the files you can make a true color composite using the command:

gdal_translate -b 7 -b 4 -b 3 -scale 0 300 0 255 -ot byte VE_VM01_VSC_PDTIMG_L1VALD_ES_LTERA_20180419.DBL.TIF myColorCompo.tif

I tend to focus on the snow so I stretched the colors between reflectances 0-1000 instead of 0-300:

gdal_translate -b 7 -b 4 -b 3 -scale 0 1000 0 255 -ot byte VE_VM01_VSC_PDTIMG_L1VALD_ES_LTERA_20180419.DBL.TIF mySnowColorCompo.tif

First, I was a bit puzzled by the orange shade in the northern part of the image. We inspected carefully the image with Olivier because at this stage radiometric calibration issues are still possible..
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Theia started the distribution of Venµs products in Near Real Time

Great news for our little Venµs satellite project: Theia has started distributing Venµs L1C data in near real time. The data acquired yesterday are already available on



These L1C products are tagged with 0.9 version, which means that their quality is not as good as what we think we will be able to deliver in a couple of months. The multi-spectral and multi-temporal registration can still be improved, even if it is not too far from our expectations yet in most cases. The image quality teams are finishing an error budget of the current situation, and also preparing the improvement with our Israeli partner who manage the satellite.  We will tell you about that.


The L2A delivery will also start in a few weeks, but the L1C teams, who had much more work than expected with this satellite, handled us correct products very late, and we still need to tune a few parameters to provide good quality products.


On the Theia website, you will find several ways to download the tiles. My little download tool has also been updated. Once you have registered, and updated the config.cfg file, you will be able to download at once all the products in Australia with the following command line :

python -l 'Australia' -c VENUS -a config.cfg -d 2018-01-01

The data format is explained here. Its packaging with useless zips and tars is still provisional and will be simplified very soon.



Enneigement au 1er avril 2018 dans les Pyrénées

Le 1er avril est le moment privilégié par les hydrologues pour caractériser le potentiel hydrologique du manteau neigeux. Dans le cadre de l'OPCC [1] nous avons compilé différents indicateurs [2] :



  • L'équivalent en eau du manteau neigeux dans les sous-bassins pyrénéens du bassin de l'Ebre est calculé par la Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro (agence de bassin) à partir d'observations MODIS, des données météorologiques, et un modèle de type "degré-jour" (la fonte est proportionnelle à la température de l'air).

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Let's ask ESA to improve Sentinel-2 multi-temporal registration

Update from May 4th 2018 : ESA has started planning for a global reprocessing in 2019


The information gathered by Sentinel-2 system on Sentinel-2 orbit, attitude, date accuracy, and viewing directions of all detectors allows an excellent accuracy for the geolocation of all Sentinel-2 pixels. The overall geo-location accuracy is better than 11 or 12 meter, for about 97 % of the cases, which is about the size of one Sentinel-2 pixel. Such a performance is more or less equivalent to that obtained for Pleiades, but Pleiades has a resolution of 0.7m. It is therefore really an achievement, which is  to be credited to ESA, to the satellite and instrument manufacturer, and to the image quality teams (including my CNES colleagues).


But even if it is excellent, it is not enough. The standard need for multi-temporal registration errors is 0.3 pixels, and the current performances show that for more than 50% of the cases, the performance does not meet that requirement.

From Sentinel-2 data quality report



For many  users, I guess, these figures do not mean much, and it is not easy to figure out their impact on real life applications. The animation below (made by the twitter star Simon Gascoin) makes that much more concrete :

Time series of Sentinel-2 images of the construction of Nour solar power station near Ouarzazate in Morocco. (made by Simon Gascoin using Sentinelhub)


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MAJA now corrects thin cirrus clouds on Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 images

Thanks to our collaboration with  DLR,, who developed the method [1], and with an ESA funding, we added within MAJA a correction for thin cirrus clouds that works for LANDSAT 8 and Sentinel-2. This correction uses the cirrus band  at 1.38 µm, which allows to estimate cirrus reflectance, which is then subtracted from the other bands with an empiric factor derived from the images.


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Correction des cirrus sur les images de Sentinel-2 et Landsat 8


Grâce à notre collaboration avec le DLR, qui a mis au point la méthode [1], nous avons mis en place dans MAJA une correction des cirrus fins pour LANDSAT 8 et Sentinel-2. Cette correction utilise la bande cirrus située à 1.38 µm, qui permet d'estimer la réflectance des cirrus qui est ensuite soustraite des autres bandes avec un facteur de proportionnalité calculé empiriquement.


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First delivery of Venµs images

A first set of 35 images (L1C) is available for download on the following CNES web site:


Venµs is now systematically acquiring data on all selected sites since January 2018, although a few The Delta of Ebroacquisitions were missed from time to time for various technical reasons, which should become progressively less frequent.


The commissioning phase of the Venµs mission is not yet completed regarding image quality (radiometry and geometry). This delay is due to several issues, the most important of which are detailed hereafter. However, since these issues do not prevent the use of the data, CNES decided to process and distribute a first set of 35 Level-1 (L1) images for which the radiometric and geometric qualities are acceptable. Level 1 corresponds to orthorectified Top of the Atmosphere reflectances. This preliminary data set is intended to allow the users to familiarize with the data and their format.


These 35 images are only a subset of the data that are systematically acquired over the Venµs sites since January 2018. We plan to start the distribution of these L1 Venµs time series by April 2018. We expect to start the distribution of the Level-2 products (surface reflectances) by late May or beginning of June, 2018.



Main issues


  1. The absolute calibrations of the spectral bands B1 (415 nm) and B2 (440 nm), both located in the blue, are less accurate than the calibration of the other spectral bands. This issue prevents the use of B1 and B2 for retrieving the aerosol optical depth (AOD) or for water color applications.
  2. The accuracy of the satellite attitude restitution is for now lower than expected. Due to the fact that the different bands are not acquired simultaneously this has mainly impacts on the inter-band registration. For some sites with heavy cloud cover or uniform landscape, this issue also impacts the multi-temporal registration.


The characterization of radiometric and geometric performances is still ongoing. Efforts are also devoted to the improvement of the preprocessing algorithms.

As soon as significant progresses are made, the whole data set acquired since January 2018 will be reprocessed with the new parameters and algorithms.

The product format document is available here. A more complete version will soon be made available there.


The Venµs page on the Theia web site will keep you informed on the progress made.


Time series of Venµs images acquired over Oklahoma (USA) and processed at level 2A (with a first try of atmospheric effects correction applied)