Machine Learning and Instrument Autonomy Group

The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument captures images of the earth at moderate resolution (275 m or 1.1 km) from nine different angles, ranging from straight down to 70 degrees in either direction. By comparing images of the same area of the earth from different angles, scientists are able to identify thin clouds and determine approximate cloud heights with unprecedented accuracy, leading to greater understanding of the planet's global distribution of clouds, and how that affects the global climate. Automating the process of detecting clouds and distinguishing between different types of clouds and aerosols remains a challenge, and we applied machine learning technology to this problem to complement the physics-based algorithms currently being used by scientists.