Spatial and temporal data fusion approaches have been developed to fuse reflectance imagery from Landsat and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), which have complementary spatial and temporal sampling characteristics. The approach relies on using Landsat and MODIS image pairs that are acquired on the same day to estimate Landsat-scale reflectance on other MODIS dates. Previous studies have revealed that the accuracy of data fusion results partially depends on the input image pair used. The selection of the optimal image pair to achieve better prediction of surface reflectance has not been fully evaluated. This paper assesses the impacts of Landsat-MODIS image pair selection on the accuracy of the predicted land surface reflectance using the Spatial and Temporal Adaptive Reflectance Fusion Model (STARFM) over different landscapes. MODIS images from the Aqua and Terra platforms were paired with images from the Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) to make different pair image combinations. The accuracy of the predicted surface reflectance at 30 m resolution was evaluated using the observed Landsat data in terms of mean absolute difference, root mean square error and correlation coefficient. Results show that the MODIS pair images with smaller view zenith angles produce better predictions. As expected, the image pair closer to the prediction date during a short prediction period produce better prediction results. For prediction dates distant from the pair date, the predictability depends on the temporal and spatial variability of land cover type and phenology. The prediction accuracy for forests is higher than for crops in our study areas. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for crops is overestimated during the non-growing season when using an input image pair from the growing season, while NDVI is slightly underestimated during the growing season when using an image pair from the non-growing season. Two automatic pair selection strategies are evaluated. Results show that the strategy of selecting the MODIS pair date image that most highly correlates with the MODIS image on the prediction date produces more accurate predictions than the nearest date strategy. This study demonstrates that data fusion results can be improved if appropriate image pairs are used.
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