Clarification on difference between L1C and L2A data

I want to make sure I am properly understanding the difference between the L1C and L2A data levels. From my understanding, the L2A is simply L1C data with some processing done to remove the effects that the atmosphere has on an image. That is, it removes discoloration caused by the air itself, or things in the air (such as smog).

Is this correct?

this is correct. From the official documentation:

The Level-2A processing includes a scene classification and an atmospheric correction applied to Top-Of-Atmosphere (TOA) Level-1C orthoimage products. Level-2A main output is an orthoimage Bottom-Of-Atmosphere (BOA) corrected reflectance product.

@ABraun Thank you very much. I saw that in the documentation, but last week was the first time I ever used any remote sensing program other than Google Earth, so I am still learning the terminology.

So if I wanted to make the surface IR of an area (to look for temperature variations), I should use L2A?

What would the advantage of having L1C be?

absolutely fine - keep it up! :+1:

L1C allows you to perform atmospheric correction yourself. If you have good knowledge on cloud removal or the estimation of atmospheric conditions at the time of image acquisition (sun angle, water vapor) you can probably create a better product than the automatically created L2A, but most people (including me) are happy with L2A data.

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