Multiscale Geostatistical Analysis of AVHRR, SPOT-VGT, and MODIS Global NDVI Records

Publication Type  Journal Article
Authors  Tarnavsky, E.; S. Garrigues; M.E. Brown
Year  2008
Name of Journal  Remote Sensing of Environment
Volume  112
Issue  2
Pages  535-549

Global NDVI data are routinely derived from the AVHRR, SPOT-VGT, and MODIS/Terra earth observation records for a range of applications from terrestrial vegetation monitoring to climate change modeling. This has led to a substantial interest in the harmonization of multisensor records. Most evaluations of the internal consistency and continuity of global multisensor NDVI products have focused on time-series harmonization in the spectral domain, often neglecting the spatial domain. We fill this void by applying variogram modeling (a) to evaluate the differences in spatial variability between 8-km AVHRR, 1-km SPOT-VGT, and 1-km, 500-m, and 250-m MODIS NDVI products over eight EOS (Earth Observing System) validation sites, and (b) to characterize the decay of spatial variability as a function of pixel size (i.e. data regularization) for spatially aggregated Landsat ETM+ NDVI products and a real multisensor dataset. First, we demonstrate that the conjunctive analysis of two variogram properties – the sill and the mean length scale metric – provides a robust assessment of the differences in spatial variability between multiscale NDVI products that are due to spatial (nominal pixel size, point spread function, and view angle) and non-spatial (sensor calibration, cloud clearing, atmospheric corrections, and length of multi-day compositing period) factors. Next, we show that as the nominal pixel size increases, the decay of spatial information content follows a logarithmic relationship with stronger fit value for the spatially aggregated NDVI products (R2 = 0.9321) than for the native-resolution AVHRR, SPOT-VGT, and MODIS NDVI products (R2 = 0.5064). This relationship serves as a reference for evaluation of the differences in spatial variability and length scales in multiscale datasets at native or aggregated spatial resolutions. The outcomes of this study suggest that multisensor NDVI records cannot be integrated into a long-term data record without proper consideration of all factors affecting their spatial consistency. Hence, we propose an approach for selecting the spatial resolution, at which differences in spatial variability between NDVI products from multiple sensors are minimized. This approach provides practical guidance for the harmonization of long-term multisensor datasets.

DOI  10.1016/j.rse.2007.05.008
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