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Type: Journal article
Title: Evaluating MODIS soil fractional cover for arid regions, using albedo from high-spatial resolution satellite imagery
Author: Lawley, E.F.
Lewis, M.M.
Ostendorf, B.
Citation: International Journal of Remote Sensing, 2014; 35(6):2028-2046
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 1366-5901
Statement of
E.F. Lawley, M.M. Lewis, and B. Ostendorf
Abstract: Broad-scale high-temporal frequency satellite imagery is increasingly used for environmental monitoring. While the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is the most commonly used index to track changes in vegetation cover, newer spectral mixture approaches aim to quantify sub-pixel fractions of photosynthesizing vegetation, non-photosynthesizing vegetation, and exposed soil. Validation of the unmixing products is essential to enable confident use of the products for management and decision-making. The most frequently used validation method is by field data collection, but this is very time consuming and costly, in particular in remote regions where access is difficult. This study developed and demonstrates an alternative method for quantifying land-cover fractions using high-spatial resolution satellite imagery. The research aimed to evaluate the bare soil fraction in a sub-pixel product, MODIS Fract-G, for the natural arid landscapes of the far west of South Australia. Twenty-two sample regions, of 3400 sampling points each, were investigated across several arid land types in the study area. Albedo thresholds were carefully determined in Advanced Land Observing Satellite Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument Stereo Mapping (ALOS PRISM) images (2.5 m spatial resolution), which separated predominantly bare soil from predominantly vegetated or covered soil, and created classified images. Correlation analysis was carried out between MODIS Fract-G bare soil fractional cover and ALOS PRISM bare soil proportions for the same areas. Results showed much lower correlations than expected, though limited agreement was found in some specific areas. It is posited that the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) fractional cover product, which is based on unmixing using the NDVI and a cellulose absorption index (CAI) proxy, may be generally unable to separate soil from vegetation in situations where both indices are low. In addition, separation is hampered by the lack of ‘pure pixels’ in this heterogeneous landscape. This suggests that the MODIS fractional cover product, at least in its present form, is unsuited to monitor sparsely vegetated arid landscapes.
Rights: © 2014 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article. Non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly attributed, cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way, is permitted. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.
DOI: 10.1080/01431161.2014.885150
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Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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