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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(6), 613;

Comparing Passive Microwave with Visible-To-Near-Infrared Phenometrics in Croplands of Northern Eurasia

Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007-3510, USA
Department of Natural Resource Management, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Forrest M. Hoffman, Jitendra Kumar, Xiaoyang Zhang, Alfredo R. Huete, Rosa Lasaponara and Clement Atzberger
Received: 22 December 2016 / Revised: 18 May 2017 / Accepted: 12 June 2017 / Published: 15 June 2017
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Planting and harvesting times drive cropland phenology. There are few datasets that derive explicit phenological metrics, and these datasets use the visible to near infrared (VNIR) spectrum. Many different methods have been used to derive phenometrics such as Start of Season (SOS) and End of Season (EOS), leading to differing results. This discrepancy is partly due to spatial and temporal compositing of the VNIR satellite data to minimize data gaps resulting from cloud cover, atmospheric aerosols, and solar illumination constraints. Phenometrics derived from the downward Convex Quadratic model (CxQ) include Peak Height (PH) and Thermal Time to Peak (TTP), which are more consistent than SOS and EOS because they are minimally affected by snow and frost and other non-vegetation related issues. Here, we have determined PH using the vegetation optical depth (VOD) in three microwave frequencies (6.925, 10.65 and 18.7 GHz) and accumulated growing degree-days derived from AMSR-E (Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer on EOS) data at a spatial resolution of 25 km. We focus on 50 AMSR-E cropland pixels in the major grain production areas of Northern Eurasia (Ukraine, southwestern Russia, and northern Kazakhstan) for 2003–2010. We compared the land surface phenologies of AMSR-E VOD and MODIS NDVI data. VOD time series tracked cropland seasonal dynamics similar to that recorded by the NDVI. The coefficients of determination for the CxQ model fit of the NDVI data were high for all sites (0.78 < R2 < 0.99). The 10.65 GHz VOD (VOD1065GHz) achieved the best linear regression fit (R2 = 0.84) with lowest standard error (SEE = 0.128); it is therefore recommended for microwave VOD studies of cropland land surface phenology. Based on an Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) analysis, the slopes from the linear regression fit were not significantly different by microwave frequency, whereas the intercepts were significantly different, given the different magnitudes of the VODs. PHs for NDVI and VOD were highly correlated. Despite their strong correspondence, there was generally a lag of AMSR-E PH VOD10.65GHz by about two weeks compared to MODIS peak greenness. To evaluate the utility of the PH determination based on maximum value, we correlated the CxQ derived and maximum value determined PHs of NDVI and found that they were highly correlated with R2 of 0.87, but with a one-week bias. Considering the one-week bias between the two methods, we find that PH of VOD10.65GHz lags PH of NDVI by three weeks. We conclude, therefore, that maximum-value based PH of VOD can be a complementary phenometric for the CxQ model derived PH NDVI, especially in cloud and aerosol obscured regions of the world. View Full-Text
Keywords: cropland phenology; microwaves; VNIR; downward convex quadratic model; peak height phenometrics cropland phenology; microwaves; VNIR; downward convex quadratic model; peak height phenometrics

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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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Alemu, W.G.; Henebry, G.M. Comparing Passive Microwave with Visible-To-Near-Infrared Phenometrics in Croplands of Northern Eurasia. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 613.

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