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Open AccessArticle

Real-Time Monitoring of Crop Phenology in the Midwestern United States Using VIIRS Observations

1
Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence (GSCE), South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA
2
Department of Geography, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA
3
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS)/Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR), Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA
4
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service, Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA
5
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service, Research and Development Division, Washington, DC 20250, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(10), 1540; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10101540
Received: 28 July 2018 / Revised: 13 September 2018 / Accepted: 23 September 2018 / Published: 25 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
Real-time monitoring of crop phenology is critical for assisting farmers managing crop growth and yield estimation. In this study, we presented an approach to monitor in real time crop phenology using timely available daily Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) observations and historical Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) datasets in the Midwestern United States. MODIS data at a spatial resolution of 500 m from 2003 to 2012 were used to generate the climatology of vegetation phenology. By integrating climatological phenology and timely available VIIRS observations in 2014 and 2015, a set of temporal trajectories of crop growth development at a given time for each pixel were then simulated using a logistic model. The simulated temporal trajectories were used to identify spring green leaf development and predict the occurrences of greenup onset, mid-greenup phase, and maximum greenness onset using curvature change rate. Finally, the accuracy of real-time monitoring from VIIRS observations was evaluated by comparing with summary crop progress (CP) reports of ground observations from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The results suggest that real-time monitoring of crop phenology from VIIRS observations is a robust tool in tracing the crop progress across regional areas. In particular, the date of mid-greenup phase from VIIRS was significantly correlated to the planting dates reported in NASS CP for both corn and soybean with a consistent lag of 37 days and 27 days on average (p < 0.01), as well as the emergence dates in CP with a lag of 24 days and 16 days on average (p < 0.01), respectively. The real-time monitoring of maximum greenness onset from VIIRS was able to predict the corn silking dates with an advance of 9 days (p < 0.01) and the soybean blooming dates with a lag of 7 days on average (p < 0.01). These findings demonstrate the capability of VIIRS observations to effectively monitor temporal dynamics of crop progress in real time at a regional scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: crop phenology; Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS); Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS); real-time monitoring; corn; soybean crop phenology; Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS); Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS); real-time monitoring; corn; soybean
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MDPI and ACS Style

Liu, L.; Zhang, X.; Yu, Y.; Gao, F.; Yang, Z. Real-Time Monitoring of Crop Phenology in the Midwestern United States Using VIIRS Observations. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1540.

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