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Remote Sens. 2014, 6(1), 310-329; doi:10.3390/rs6010310

Cross-Comparison of Vegetation Indices Derived from Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Landsat-8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) Sensors

Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
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Received: 20 October 2013 / Revised: 12 December 2013 / Accepted: 20 December 2013 / Published: 27 December 2013
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Abstract

Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Landsat-8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) are currently operational for routine Earth observation. There are substantial differences between instruments onboard both satellites. The enhancements achieved with Landsat-8 refer to the scanning technology (replacing of whisk-broom scanners with two separate push-broom OLI and TIRS scanners), an extended number of spectral bands (two additional bands provided) and narrower bandwidths. Therefore, cross-comparative analysis is very necessary for the combined use of multi-decadal Landsat imagery. In this study, 3,311 independent sample points of four major land cover types (primary forest, unplanted cropland, swidden cultivation and water body) were used to compare the spectral bands of ETM+ and OLI. Eight sample plots with different land cover types were manually selected for comparison with the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), the Modified Normalized Difference Water Index (MNDWI), the Land Surface Water Index (LSWI) and the Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR). These indices were calculated with six pairs of ETM+ and OLI cloud-free images, which were acquired over the border area of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand just two days apart, when Landsat-8 achieved operational obit. Comparative results showed that: (1) the average surface reflectance of each band differed slightly, but with a high degree of similarities between both sensors. In comparison with ETM+, the OLI had higher values for the near-infrared band for vegetative land cover types, but lower values for non-vegetative types. The new sensor had lower values for the shortwave infrared (2.11–2.29 µm) band for all land cover types. In addition, it also basically had higher values for the shortwave infrared (1.57–1.65 µm) band for non-water land cover types. (2) The subtle differences of vegetation indices derived from both sensors and their high linear correlation coefficient (R2 > 0.96) demonstrated that ETM+ and OLI imagery can be used as complementary data. (3) LSWI and NBR performed better than NDVI and MNDWI for cross-comparison analysis of satellite sensors, due to the spectral band difference effects.
Keywords: Landsat-7; Landsat-8; Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI); Modified Normalized Difference Water Index (MNDWI); Land Surface Water Index (LSWI); Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR); Spectral Band Difference Effects (SBDE); Mainland Southeast Asia Landsat-7; Landsat-8; Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI); Modified Normalized Difference Water Index (MNDWI); Land Surface Water Index (LSWI); Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR); Spectral Band Difference Effects (SBDE); Mainland Southeast Asia
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, P.; Jiang, L.; Feng, Z. Cross-Comparison of Vegetation Indices Derived from Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Landsat-8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) Sensors. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 310-329.

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