Simultaneous Cloud Detection and Removal From Bitemporal Remote Sensing Images Using Cascade Convolutional Neural Networks

S. Ji, P. Dai, M. Lu, Y. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Clouds and cloud shadows heavily affect the quality of the remote sensing images and their application potential. Algorithms have been developed for detecting, removing, and reconstructing the shaded regions with the information from the neighboring pixels or multisource data. In this article, we propose an integrated cloud detection and removal framework using cascade convolutional neural networks, which provides accurate cloud and shadow masks and repaired images. First, a novel fully convolutional network (FCN), embedded with multiscale aggregation and the channel-attention mechanism, is developed for detecting clouds and shadows from a cloudy image. Second, another FCN, with the masks of the detected cloud and shadow, the cloudy image, and a temporal image as the input, is used for the cloud removal and missing-information reconstruction. The reconstruction is realized through a self-training strategy that is designed to learn the mapping between the clean-pixel pairs of the bitemporal images, which bypasses the high demand of manual labels. Experiments showed that our proposed framework can simultaneously detect and remove the clouds and shadows from the images and the detection accuracy surpassed several recent cloud-detection methods; the effects of image restoring outperform the mainstream methods in every indicator by a large margin. The data set used for cloud detection and removal is made open.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-748
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number1
Early online date22 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Convolutional neural networks (CNNs)
  • cloud detection
  • cloud removal
  • multitemporal remote sensing images.


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