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Upcoming Sentinel-2 Level-2A product evolution

02 March 2018

Bridging from the initial Level-2A pilot production which started in May 2017, we are pleased to confirm the long-term maintenance of the Level-2A as an operational product starting from mid-March this year, as well as its forthcoming evolution with systematic worldwide coverage planned for deployment by the summer.

The operational Level-2A production will remain relying on the Sen2Cor surface reflectance and classification algorithm that will include a set of small evolutions in line with the long-term perspective of this product.

Along this plan, it is highlighted that as of mid-March the Level-2A production (still limited to the Euro-Mediterranean region) will feature an updated product format:

  • The naming logic of the files embedded in the L2A product package has been harmonised with that of the L1C product
  • The Metadata files (Product, Datastrip, and Tile levels) have been harmonised in structure and contents with that of the L1C

Detailed information on the operational Level-2A product format is provided in the Sentinel-2 Products Specification Document (PSD version 14.4). Corresponding XSD schemas are also provided with the PSD document as attachments. In addition, a sample product is available for download.

Regarding the algorithm, this evolution features the following changes:

  • Improvement of cloud screening and scene classification
  • Visibility iteration extended from 80 to 120 km
  • Exclusion of cloud shadow pixels for Water Vapour retrieval
  • Improved aerosol optical thickness retrieval

The transition to the operational production will tag every new Level-2A product with the processing baseline number 02.07 (*). It is highlighted that the Level-2A processing baseline numbering is product specific, i.e. the Level-2A processing baseline number is and will be maintained independently from that of the Level-1C product.

The precise date of the transition will be announced shortly.

Updated versions of SNAP software Level-2A readers and Sen2Cor stand-alone processor will be made available before the release of the products.