An uneven illumination correction algorithm for optical remote sensing images covered with thin clouds

Xiaole Shen, Qingquan Li, Yingjie Tian, Linlin Shen

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The uneven illumination phenomenon caused by thin clouds will reduce the quality of remote sensing images, and bring adverse effects to the image interpretation. To remove the effect of thin clouds on images, an uneven illumination correction can be applied. In this paper, an effective uneven illumination correction algorithm is proposed to remove the effect of thin clouds and to restore the ground information of the optical remote sensing image. The imaging model of remote sensing images covered by thin clouds is analyzed. Due to the transmission attenuation, reflection, and scattering, the thin cloud cover usually increases region brightness and reduces saturation and contrast of the image. As a result, a wavelet domain enhancement is performed for the image in Hue-Saturation-Value (HSV) color space. We use images with thin clouds in Wuhan area captured by QuickBird and ZiYuan-3 (ZY-3) satellites for experiments. Three traditional uneven illumination correction algorithms, i.e., multi-scale Retinex (MSR) algorithm, homomorphic filtering (HF)-based algorithm, and wavelet transform-based MASK (WT-MASK) algorithm are performed for comparison. Five indicators, i.e., mean value, standard deviation, information entropy, average gradient, and hue deviation index (HDI) are used to analyze the effect of the algorithms. The experimental results show that the proposed algorithm can effectively eliminate the influences of thin clouds and restore the real color of ground objects under thin clouds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11848-11862
Number of pages15
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • HSV transform
  • Remote sensing images
  • Thin clouds
  • Uneven illumination
  • Wavelet analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (all)


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