I'm doing a temporal analysis of NDVI and temperature over 17 years, necessitating data from Landsat 5,7, & 8. I'm interested in using level-2 Landsat data available from https://espa.cr.usgs.gov/ordering/new/. I would be able to directly download NDVI as well as brightness temperature, which would save me a lot of time. However, the USGS is explicit that the algorithm used to calculate surface reflectance for Landsat 8 is not the same as the algorithm used for previous satellites.


My question is: are the level-2 products from Landsat-8 comparable on an apples-to-apples basis with Landsat 5 or 7 level-2 products, or does this kind of comparison require some sort of adjustment to the data? I haven't been able to find an answer to this question online.

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    I asked the USGS this question and got this response. I'm not really sure what to make of this: "They use different algorithms, yes. That doesn't mean the datasets are completely incompatible. It means you may need to provide additional information in your study." – user5858 Mar 14 '17 at 21:00
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    not much help here, but trying to do some classifications between L8, L7 and L5 images I found out some older images may (not neccessarily) be shifted by a range of kilometers. be sure to check that, it is caused by not using GCPs when calibrating older images (link: landsat.usgs.gov/landsat-processing-details). This info may be related - if you check whether your image was originally L1T or L1GT etc, it is possible your Surface Reflectance derived product has same characteristics - from what I know it can't be repaired, they just eg. didn't have some GCPs back then. – adamczi Apr 3 '17 at 21:13

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