Maximum likelihood estimation of cloud height from multi-angle satellite imagery

E. Anderes, B. Yu, V. Jovanovic, C. Moroney, M. Garay, A. Braverman, E. Clothiaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We develop a new estimation technique for recovering depth-of-field from multiple stereo images. Depth-of-field is estimated by determining the shift in image location resulting from different camera viewpoints. When this shift is not divisible by pixel width, the multiple stereo images can be combined to form a super-resolution image. By modeling this super-resolution image as a realization of a random field, one can view the recovery of depth as a likelihood estimation problem. We apply these modeling techniques to the recovery of cloud height from multiple viewing angles provided by the MISR instrument on the Terra Satellite. Our efforts are focused on a two layer cloud ensemble where both layers are relatively planar, the bottom layer is optically thick and textured, and the top layer is optically thin. Our results demonstrate that with relative ease, we get comparable estimates to the M2 stereo matcher which is the same algorithm used in the current MISR standard product (details can be found in [IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 40 (2002) 1547-1559]). Moreover, our techniques provide the possibility of modeling all of the MISR data in a unified way for cloud height estimation. Research is underway to extend this framework for fast, quality global estimates of cloud height.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-921
Number of pages20
JournalAnnals of Applied Statistics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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