Radiometric Resolutions

Sentinel-2 MSI User Guide - Radiometric Resolution

Radiometric resolution is the capacity of the instrument to distinguish differences in light intensity or reflectance. The greater the radiometric resolution, the more accurate the sensed image will be.

Radiometric resolution is routinely expressed as a bit number, typically in the range of 8 to 16 bits. The radiometric resolution of the MSI instrument is 12 bit(1), enabling the image to be acquired over a range of 0 to 4095 potential light intensity values. The radiometric accuracy is less than 5% (goal 3%). Radiometric resolution is also dependent upon the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) of the detector.

(1) The SENTINEL-2 instrument acquires measurements at 12 bits. These measurements are converted to reflectances and stored as 16 bit integers in the S2 product.

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