Validation and analysis of Terra and Aqua MODIS, and SNPP VIIRS vegetation indices under zero vegetation conditions: A case study using Railroad Valley Playa
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Validation and analysis of Terra and Aqua MODIS, and SNPP VIIRS vegetation indices under zero vegetation conditions: A case study using Railroad Valley Playa

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  • Journal Title:
    Remote Sensing of Environment
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    Spectral vegetation index (VI) time series data from coarse resolution satellite sensors, such as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), have been utilized in studying vegetation dynamics. Numerous studies have evaluated how well VI products capture variations in vegetation biophysical or physiological conditions. Equally important is to evaluate VI products over “zero vegetation” surfaces consisting of soils, litters, and/or rocks, as they define the lower bound for vegetation detection. VIs, however, vary over zero vegetation surfaces as a function of soil moisture content and surface roughness. In this study, we evaluated the behavior of VIs from Terra MODIS (T-MODIS), Aqua MODIS (A-MODIS), and Suomi-National Polar-orbiting Partnership Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (S-VIIRS) at Railroad Valley Playa, Nevada for a period from April 2013 to September 2019. The playa is a dried lakebed devoid of vegetation throughout the year. Long-term in situ reflectance measurements acquired over the 1 km-by−1 km Radiometric Calibration Test Site (RadCaTS) located on the playa were obtained from the Radiometric Calibration Network (RadCalNet) portal and used as a reference. Three VIs were analyzed, including the normalized difference VI (NDVI), enhanced VI (EVI), and two-band EVI (EVI2). RadCaTS NDVI, EVI, and EVI2 of the playa surface increased and decreased occasionally for the time period examined in this study, and the satellite NDVIs, EVIs, and EVI2s had comparable temporal signatures to the RadCaTS counterparts. T-MODIS and A-MODIS NDVI and EVI2 values were comparable to the RadCaTS counterparts, whereas T-MODIS and A-MODIS EVI values were lower than the RadCaTS counterparts by ~0.006 and ~ 0.01 EVI units, respectively. All the three VIs of S-VIIRS were consistently higher than their RadCaTS counterparts by ~0.008 VI units, due to the higher near-infrared (NIR) reflectances of S-VIIRS than the RadCaTS NIR reflectance. The red and NIR, and red and blue reflectances each formed linear relationships (i.e., soil lines) for each of the three sensors. Variations in reflectance due to surface conditions and observation geometries all appeared as variations along these soil lines. The satellite red-NIR soil lines were comparable to the RadCaTS counterparts, whereas the satellite red-blue soil lines had steeper slopes than the RadCaTS counterparts due to a negative bias in the satellite blue reflectances. This translated into the T-MODIS and A-MODIS EVI behaviors different from those depicted by RadCaTS EVI, and the satellite NDVI and EVI2 behaving more comparably with the RadCaTS counterparts and across the three sensors than the satellite EVI.
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    Remote Sensing of Environment, 257, 112344
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    CC BY
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