8. Scaling of the VIIRS Day/Night Band in Polar2Grid

Scaling of the Day/Night Band (DNB) is complicated due to the huge range of values that can exist across a given scene. The Day/Night Band is centered on .7 microns with a wide spectral response function (half width .505 to .890 microns). Polar2Grid offers the user four different options for enhancing the final image product. If no specific DNB enhancement is provided to the viirs readers (for example, polar2grid.sh viirs_sdr gtiff), three different output products will be created for the given scene by default. The three options are:

  • Adaptive Day/Night Band scaling - option -p adaptive_dnb

  • Dynamic Day/Night Band scaling - option -p dynamic_dnb

  • Simplified HNCC Day/Night scaling - option -p hncc_dnb

In addition, a fourth enhancement option is available by explicitly requesting it in the command line (using the -p option).

  • Histogram Day/Night Band scaling - option -p histogram_dnb

The Histogram and Adaptive enhancements work by breaking up the radiance values and scale them based upon three regimes:

  • Day – Solar zenith angles less than 88 degrees,

  • Twilight or Terminator Region – Solar Zenith angles between 88 and 100 degrees, and

  • Night – Solar Zenith Angles less than 100 degrees.

For each of these regions, a histogram equalization is calculated, excluding data that falls beyond 4 standard deviations of the mean. Then a histogram equalization is calculated across all the data in all of the regions. Then the data are scaled from 0-1, remapped to the requested projection and then finally rescaled to 0-255. This allows us to display day and night data together in one image, and make the maximum use of all of the data no matter how many regimes are included in a swath.

Figure 8.1 below shows a Polar2Grid VIIRS Day/Night band image created using data that includes the transition region between day and night regimes (left panel). This data set was acquired on 22 June 2015.

The Adaptive Scaling Option (center panel) is an alternative that attempts to provide better contrast across the Terminator region of the Day/Night band. This algorithm cuts each region into tiles and calculates a histogram equalization for each tile. Once the histogram equalization functions have been calculated for each tile, each tile is processed separately. The “current tile” is equalized using the histogram equalization calculated from itself and it is also separately equalized using the surrounding tiles. These resulting equalized versions of the tiles are combined using bi-linear interpolation, so that each pixel uses a weighted amount in inverse relation to it’s distance from the centers of the nearest 4 tiles. An example of the result of applying this technique to the same data set can be seen in the following image. Please note that some image artifacts (wave patterns) are introduced when applying this technique over the Terminator region.

The Dynamic option (right panel) implements an error function to scale the VIIRS Day/Night band data. This algorithm was provided by Dr. Curtis Seaman, NOAA Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Colorado State University. For detailed information on this technique, please see:

Curtis J. Seaman, Steven D. Miller, 2015: A dynamic scaling algorithm for the optimized digital display of VIIRS Day/Night Band imagery. International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 36, Iss. 7, pp. 1839-1854. DOI: 10.1080/01431161.2015.1029100.

And finally, Figure 8.2 provides an example of a technique that utilizes a simplified high and near-constant contrast approach. This approach was created by Stephan Zinke of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). His technique supports the display of VIIRS Day/Night Band granules using consistent settings for all granules. In this way, it provides consistent results whether applied to single granules whose images are then stitched together or if it is applied to a concatenation of granules.

For more information about this technique, and for more details about the example dataset shown in Figure 8.2 please see :

Zinke, Stephan, 2017: A simplified high and near-constant contrast approach for the display of VIIRS day/night band imagery. International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 38 Iss. 19, pp.5374-5387. DOI: 10.1080/01431161.2017.1338838


Fig. 8.1 Example of three options for scaling the VIIRS Day/Night band in Polar2Grid for a S-NPP pass collected on 22 June 2015. The left panel applies a histogram equalization technique (histogram_dnb), center panel utilizes an adaptive histogram equalization technique (adaptive_dnb), and the third option (right panel) implements an dynamic error function scaling technique (dynamic_dnb).


Fig. 8.2 Example of the high and near-constant contrast VIIRS Day/Night band scaling option (-p hncc_dnb) image created from a S-NPP pass collected on 1 September 2016. For more information about the lunar illumination regimes of this data, please see Zinke, 2017.