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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(9), 753; doi:10.3390/rs8090753

Effects of Different Methods on the Comparison between Land Surface and Ground Phenology—A Methodological Case Study from South-Western Germany

1
Ecoclimatology, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Freising, Technische Universität München, München 85354, Germany
2
Institute for Advanced Study, Garching, Technische Universität München, München 85748, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Geoffrey M. Henebry, Forrest M. Hoffman, Jitendra Kumar, Xiaoyang Zhang, Jose Moreno, Clement Atzberger and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 27 June 2016 / Revised: 25 August 2016 / Accepted: 8 September 2016 / Published: 13 September 2016
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Abstract

Several methods exist for extracting plant phenological information from time series of satellite data. However, there have been only a few successful attempts to temporarily match satellite observations (Land Surface Phenology or LSP) with ground based phenological observations (Ground Phenology or GP). The classical pixel to point matching problem along with the temporal and spatial resolution of remote sensing data are some of the many issues encountered. In this study, MODIS-sensor’s Normalised Differenced Vegetation Index (NDVI) time series data were smoothed using two filtering techniques for comparison. Several start of season (SOS) methods established in the literature, namely thresholds of amplitude, derivatives and delayed moving average, were tested for determination of LSP-SOS for broadleaf forests at a site in southwestern Germany using 2001–2013 time series of NDVI data. The different LSP-SOS estimates when compared with species-rich GP dataset revealed that different LSP-SOS extraction methods agree better with specific phases of GP, and the choice of data processing or smoothing strongly affects the LSP-SOS extracted. LSP methods mirroring late SOS dates, i.e., 75% amplitude and 1st derivative, indicated a better match in means and trends, and high, significant correlations of up to 0.7 with leaf unfolding and greening of late understory and broadleaf tree species. GP-SOS of early understory leaf unfolding partly were significantly correlated with earlier detecting LSP-SOS, i.e., 20% amplitude and 3rd derivative. Early understory SOS were, however, more difficult to detect from NDVI due to the lack of a high resolution land cover information. View Full-Text
Keywords: broadleaf forests; understory; phenology; start of season (SOS); leaf unfolding; match in LSP and GP broadleaf forests; understory; phenology; start of season (SOS); leaf unfolding; match in LSP and GP
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Misra, G.; Buras, A.; Menzel, A. Effects of Different Methods on the Comparison between Land Surface and Ground Phenology—A Methodological Case Study from South-Western Germany. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 753.

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