Monitoring the spatio-temporal development of vegetation is a challenging task in heterogeneous and cloud-prone landscapes. No single satellite sensor has thus far been able to provide consistent time series of high temporal and spatial resolution for such areas. In order to overcome this problem, data fusion algorithms such as the Enhanced Spatial and Temporal Adaptive Reflectance Fusion Model (ESTARFM) have been established and frequently used in recent years to generate high-resolution time series. In order to make it applicable to larger scales and to increase the input data availability especially in cloud-prone areas, an ESTARFM framework was developed in this study introducing several enhancements. An automatic filling of cloud gaps was included in the framework to make best use of available, even partly cloud-covered Landsat images. Furthermore, the ESTARFM algorithm was enhanced to automatically account for regional differences in the heterogeneity of the study area. The generation of time series was automated and the processing speed was accelerated significantly by parallelization. To test the performance of the developed ESTARFM framework, MODIS and Landsat-8 data were fused for generating an 8-day NDVI time series for a study area of approximately 98,000 km2
in West Africa. The results show that the ESTARFM framework can accurately produce high temporal resolution time series (average MAE (mean absolute error) of 0.02 for the dry season and 0.05 for the vegetative season) while keeping the spatial detail in such a heterogeneous, cloud-prone region. The developments introduced within the ESTARFM framework establish the basis for large-scale research on various geoscientific questions related to land degradation, changes in land surface phenology or agriculture.
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