Special Issue "The Development and Validation of Remote Sensing Products for Terrestrial, Hydrological, and Ecological Applications at the Regional Scale"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2015).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Xin Li
Website
Guest Editor
Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
Interests: land data assimilation, application of remote sensing and GIS in hydrology, application of remote sensing and GIS in cryospheric research, integrated watershed study
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Qinhuo Liu
Website
Guest Editor
State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Institute of Remote Sesning and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences. No. 20A, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China
Interests: Remote Sensing Modelling and Inversion; Vegetation Remote Sensing; Land Surface Radiation and Energy Balance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The questions of how best to develop remote sensing products (RSPs), and to further design and conduct reasonable validation schemes and activities at the pixel scale (with respect to heterogeneous land surfaces) are still unanswered. Since 2011, we have been conducting a program that specifically addresses the development and validation of long-term watershed and regional scale land RSPs with respect to some key eco-hydrological variables (e.g., LAI, albedo, NPP, snow cover area, soil moisture, and precipitation). Moreover, we are also carrying out an intensive experiment, the Heihe Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research (HiWATER) project, which involes considerable remote sensing observation and in situ measurements. These data can better improve our understanding of validation per se and its associated issues (e.g., scale effect, heterogeneity, and uncertainty), and can advance the techniques and schemes concerning the validation of RSPs under heterogonous scenes.

Thus, the proposed Special Issue will deliver a timely report of the progress of our projects on the validation of RSPs. Also, other new findings (worldwide) with regard to the topic are welcome. This issue will provide a systematic overview of the state-of-the-art research in the field of the aforementioned validation issues, and will outline new developments in fundamentals, approaches, and applications in this area.

The submitted papers will be divided into two themes, the development and the validation of remote sensing products.

Authors are required to check and follow specific Instructions to Authors, see https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/165068305/Remote_Sensing-Additional_Instructions.pdf.

Dr. Xin Li
Prof. Dr. Yuei-An Liou
Dr. Qinhuo Liu
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Published Papers (48 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Validation of Regional-Scale Remote Sensing Products in China: From Site to Network
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(12), 980; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8120980 - 26 Nov 2016
Cited by 16
Abstract
Validation is mandatory to quantify the reliability of remote sensing products (RSPs). However, this process is not straightforward and usually presents formidable challenges in terms of both theory and real-world operations. In this context, a dedicated validation initiative was launched in China, and [...] Read more.
Validation is mandatory to quantify the reliability of remote sensing products (RSPs). However, this process is not straightforward and usually presents formidable challenges in terms of both theory and real-world operations. In this context, a dedicated validation initiative was launched in China, and we identified a validation strategy (VS). This overall VS focuses on validating regional-scale RSPs with a systematic site-to-network concept, consisting of four main components: (1) general guidelines and technical specifications to guide users in validating various land RSPs, particularly aiming to further develop in situ sampling schemes and scaling approaches to acquire ground truth at the pixel scale over heterogeneous surfaces; (2) sound site-based validation activities, conducted through multi-scale, multi-platform, and multi-source observations to experimentally examine and improve the first component; (3) a national validation network to allow for comprehensive assessment of RSPs from site or regional scales to the national scale across various zones; and (4) an operational RSP evaluation system to implement operational validation applications. Research progress on the development of these four components is described in this paper. Some representative research results, with respect to the development of sampling methods and site-based validation activities, are also highlighted. The development of this VS improves our understanding of validation issues, especially to facilitate validating RSPs over heterogeneous land surfaces both at the pixel scale level and the product level. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Scaling of FAPAR from the Field to the Satellite
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(4), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8040310 - 07 Apr 2016
Cited by 6
Abstract
The fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR) is a critical biophysical parameter in eco-environmental studies. Scaling of FAPAR from the field observation to the satellite pixel is essential for validating remote sensing FAPAR product and for further modeling applications. However, compared to [...] Read more.
The fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR) is a critical biophysical parameter in eco-environmental studies. Scaling of FAPAR from the field observation to the satellite pixel is essential for validating remote sensing FAPAR product and for further modeling applications. However, compared to spatial mismatches, few studies have considered temporal mismatches between in-situ and satellite observations in the scaling. This paper proposed a general methodology for scaling FAPAR from the field to the satellite pixel considering the temporal variation. Firstly, a temporal normalization method was proposed to normalize the in-situ data measured at different times to the time of satellite overpass. The method was derived from the integration of an atmospheric radiative transfer model (6S) and a FAPAR analytical model (FAPAR-P), which can characterize the diurnal variations of FAPAR comprehensively. Secondly, the logistic model, which derives smooth and consistent temporal profile for vegetation growth, was used to interpolate the in-situ data to match the dates of satellite acquisitions. Thirdly, fine-resolution FAPAR products at different dates were estimated from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data using the temporally corrected in-situ data. Finally, fine-resolution FAPAR were taken as reference datasets and aggregated to coarse resolution, which were further compared to the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) FAPAR product. The methodology is validated for scaling FAPAR from the field to the satellite pixel temporally and spatially. The MODIS FAPAR manifested a good consistency with the aggregated FAPAR with R2 of 0.922 and the root mean squared error of 0.054. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Effective Method for Snow-Cover Mapping of Dense Coniferous Forests in the Upper Heihe River Basin Using Landsat Operational Land Imager Data
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(12), 17246-17257; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs71215882 - 18 Dec 2015
Cited by 15
Abstract
The Normalized Difference Snow Index (NDSI) is an effective index for snow-cover mapping at large scales, but in forested regions the identification accuracy for snow using the NDSI is low because of forest cover effects. In this study, typical evergreen coniferous forest zones [...] Read more.
The Normalized Difference Snow Index (NDSI) is an effective index for snow-cover mapping at large scales, but in forested regions the identification accuracy for snow using the NDSI is low because of forest cover effects. In this study, typical evergreen coniferous forest zones on Qilian Mountain in the Upper Heihe River Basin (UHRB) were chosen as example regions. By analyzing the spectral signature of snow-covered and snow-free evergreen coniferous forests with Landsat Operational Land Imager (OLI) data, a novel spectral band ratio using near-infrared (NIR) and shortwave infrared (SWIR) bands, defined as (ρnir − ρswir)/(ρnir + ρswir), is proposed. Our research shows that this band ratio, named the normalized difference forest snow index (NDFSI), can be used to effectively distinguish snow-covered evergreen coniferous forests from snow-free evergreen coniferous forests in UHRB. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Improving Estimation of Evapotranspiration under Water-Limited Conditions Based on SEBS and MODIS Data in Arid Regions
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(12), 16795-16814; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs71215854 - 10 Dec 2015
Cited by 23
Abstract
This study proposes a method for improving the estimation of surface turbulent fluxes in surface energy balance system (SEBS) model under water stress conditions using MODIS data. The normalized difference water index (NDWI) as an indicator of water stress is integrated into SEBS. [...] Read more.
This study proposes a method for improving the estimation of surface turbulent fluxes in surface energy balance system (SEBS) model under water stress conditions using MODIS data. The normalized difference water index (NDWI) as an indicator of water stress is integrated into SEBS. To investigate the feasibility of the new approach, the desert-oasis region in the middle reaches of the Heihe River Basin (HRB) is selected as the study area. The proposed model is calibrated with meteorological and flux data over 2008–2011 at the Yingke station and is verified with data from 16 stations of the Heihe Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research (HiWATER) project in 2012. The results show that soil moisture significantly affects evapotranspiration (ET) under water stress conditions in the study area. Adding the NDWI in SEBS can significantly improve the estimations of surface turbulent fluxes in water-limited regions, especially for spare vegetation cover area. The daily ET maps generated by the new model also show improvements in drylands with low ET values. This study demonstrates that integrating the NDWI into SEBS as an indicator of water stress is an effective way to improve the assessment of the regional ET in semi-arid and arid regions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
C3 Vegetation Mapping and CO2 Fertilization Effect in the Arid Lower Heihe River Basin, Northwestern China
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(12), 16384-16397; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs71215836 - 04 Dec 2015
Abstract
In arid regions, C3 vegetation is assumed to be more sensitive to precipitation and CO2 fertilization than C4 vegetation. In this study, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is used to examine vegetation growth in the arid Lower Heihe River Basin, northwestern China, [...] Read more.
In arid regions, C3 vegetation is assumed to be more sensitive to precipitation and CO2 fertilization than C4 vegetation. In this study, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is used to examine vegetation growth in the arid Lower Heihe River Basin, northwestern China, for the past three decades. The results indicate that maximum NDVI (MNDVI) of the area increases over the years and is significantly correlated with precipitation (R = 0.47 and p < 0.01), not temperature (R = −0.04). The upper limit of C3 vegetation cover of the area shows a yearly rising trend of 0.6% or an overall increase of 9% over the period of 25 years, primarily due to the CO2 fertilization effect (CO2 rising 14%) over the same period. C3 dominant areas can be potentially distinguished by both MNDVI asynchronous seasonality and a significant relation between MNDVI and cumulative precipitation. This study provides a potential tool of identifying C3 vegetation from C4 vegetation and confirms the CO2 fertilization effect in this arid region. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Sampling Methods for Validation of Remotely Sensed Fractional Vegetation Cover
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(12), 16164-16182; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs71215817 - 02 Dec 2015
Cited by 20
Abstract
Validation over heterogeneous areas is critical to ensuring the quality of remote sensing products. This paper focuses on the sampling methods used to validate the coarse-resolution fractional vegetation cover (FVC) product in the Heihe River Basin, where the patterns of spatial variations in [...] Read more.
Validation over heterogeneous areas is critical to ensuring the quality of remote sensing products. This paper focuses on the sampling methods used to validate the coarse-resolution fractional vegetation cover (FVC) product in the Heihe River Basin, where the patterns of spatial variations in and between land cover types vary significantly in the different growth stages of vegetation. A sampling method, called the mean of surface with non-homogeneity (MSN) method, and three other sampling methods are examined with real-world data obtained in 2012. A series of 15-m-resolution fractional vegetation cover reference maps were generated using the regressions of field-measured and satellite data. The sampling methods were tested using the 15-m-resolution normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and land cover maps over a complete period of vegetation growth. Two scenes were selected to represent the situations in which sampling locations were sparsely and densely distributed. The results show that the FVCs estimated using the MSN method have errors of approximately less than 0.03 in the two selected scenes. The validation accuracy of the sampling methods varies with variations in the stratified non-homogeneity in the different growing stages of the vegetation. The MSN method, which considers both heterogeneity and autocorrelations between strata, is recommended for use in the determination of samplings prior to the design of an experimental campaign. In addition, the slight scaling bias caused by the non-linear relationship between NDVI and FVC samples is discussed. The positive or negative trend of the biases predicted using a Taylor expansion is found to be consistent with that of the real biases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating Crop Albedo in the Application of a Physical Model Based on the Law of Energy Conservation and Spectral Invariants
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(11), 15536-15560; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs71115536 - 18 Nov 2015
Cited by 6
Abstract
Albedo characterizes the radiometric interface of land surfaces, especially vegetation, and the atmosphere. Albedo is a critical input to many models, such as crop growth models, hydrological models and climate models. For the extensive attention to crop monitoring, a physical albedo model for [...] Read more.
Albedo characterizes the radiometric interface of land surfaces, especially vegetation, and the atmosphere. Albedo is a critical input to many models, such as crop growth models, hydrological models and climate models. For the extensive attention to crop monitoring, a physical albedo model for crops is developed based on the law of energy conservation and spectral invariants, which is derived from a prior forest albedo model. The model inputs have been efficiently and physically parameterized, including the dependency of albedo on the solar zenith/azimuth angle, the fraction of diffuse skylight in the incident radiance, the canopy structure, the leaf reflectance/transmittance and the soil reflectance characteristics. Both the anisotropy of soil reflectance and the clumping effect of crop leaves at the canopy scale are considered, which contribute to the improvement of the model accuracy. The comparison between the model results and Monte Carlo simulation results indicates that the canopy albedo has high accuracy with an RMSE < 0.005. The validation using ground measurements has also demonstrated the reliability of the model and that it can reflect the interaction mechanism between radiation and the canopy-soil system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Classification of C3 and C4 Vegetation Types Using MODIS and ETM+ Blended High Spatio-Temporal Resolution Data
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(11), 15244-15268; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs71115244 - 13 Nov 2015
Cited by 10
Abstract
The distribution of C3 and C4 vegetation plays an important role in the global carbon cycle and climate change. Knowledge of the distribution of C3 and C4 vegetation at a high spatial resolution over local or regional scales helps us to understand their [...] Read more.
The distribution of C3 and C4 vegetation plays an important role in the global carbon cycle and climate change. Knowledge of the distribution of C3 and C4 vegetation at a high spatial resolution over local or regional scales helps us to understand their ecological functions and climate dependencies. In this study, we classified C3 and C4 vegetation at a high resolution for spatially heterogeneous landscapes. First, we generated a high spatial and temporal land surface reflectance dataset by blending MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) and ETM+ (Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus) data. The blended data exhibited a high correlation (R2 = 0.88) with the satellite derived ETM+ data. The time-series NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) data were then generated using the blended high spatio-temporal resolution data to capture the phenological differences between the C3 and C4 vegetation. The time-series NDVI revealed that the C3 vegetation turns green earlier in spring than the C4 vegetation, and senesces later in autumn than the C4 vegetation. C4 vegetation has a higher NDVI value than the C3 vegetation during summer time. Based on the distinguished characteristics, the time-series NDVI was used to extract the C3 and C4 classification features. Five features were selected from the 18 classification features according to the ground investigation data, and subsequently used for the C3 and C4 classification. The overall accuracy of the C3 and C4 vegetation classification was 85.75% with a kappa of 0.725 in our study area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimal Nodes Selectiveness from WSN to Fit Field Scale Albedo Observation and Validation in Long Time Series in the Foci Experiment Areas, Heihe
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(11), 14757-14780; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs71114757 - 05 Nov 2015
Cited by 7
Abstract
To evaluate and improve the quality of land surface albedo products, validation with ground measurements of albedo is crucial over the spatially and temporally heterogeneous land surface. One of the essential steps for satellite albedo product validation is coarse scale observation technique development [...] Read more.
To evaluate and improve the quality of land surface albedo products, validation with ground measurements of albedo is crucial over the spatially and temporally heterogeneous land surface. One of the essential steps for satellite albedo product validation is coarse scale observation technique development with long time ground-based measurements. In this paper, the optimal nodes were selected from the wireless sensor network (WSN) to perform observation at large scale and in longer time series for validation of albedo products. The relative difference is used to analyze the spatiotemporal representativeness of each node. The random combination method is used to assess the number of required sites (NRS) and then to identify the most representative combination (MRC). On this basis, an upscaling transform function with different weights for each node in the MRC, which are calculated with the ordinary least squares (OLS) linear regression method, is used to upscale WSN node albedo from point scale to the field scale. This method is illustrated by selecting the optimal nodes and upscaling surface albedo from point observation to the field scale in the Heihe River basin, China. Primary findings are: (a) The method of reducing the number of observations without significant loss of information about surface albedo at field scale is feasible and effective; (b) When only few sensors are available, the most representative locations in time and space should be the first priority; when a number of sensors are available in the heterogeneous land surface, it is preferable to install them in different land surface, rather than the most representative locations; (c) The most representative combination (MRC) combined with the upscaling weight coefficients can give a robust estimate of the field mean surface albedo. These efforts based on ground albedo observations promote the chance to use point information for validation of coarse scale albedo products. Moreover, a preliminary validation of the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) albedo product was performed as the tentative application for upscaling predictions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping High-Resolution Soil Moisture over Heterogeneous Cropland Using Multi-Resource Remote Sensing and Ground Observations
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(10), 13273-13297; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs71013273 - 09 Oct 2015
Cited by 13
Abstract
High spatial resolution soil moisture (SM) data are crucial in agricultural applications, river-basin management, and understanding hydrological processes. Merging multi-resource observations is one of the ways to improve the accuracy of high spatial resolution SM data in the heterogeneous cropland. In this paper, [...] Read more.
High spatial resolution soil moisture (SM) data are crucial in agricultural applications, river-basin management, and understanding hydrological processes. Merging multi-resource observations is one of the ways to improve the accuracy of high spatial resolution SM data in the heterogeneous cropland. In this paper, the Bayesian Maximum Entropy (BME) methodology is implemented to merge the following four types of observed data to obtain the spatial distribution of SM at 100 m scale: soil moisture observed by wireless sensor network (WSN), Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER)-derived soil evaporative efficiency (SEE), irrigation statistics, and Polarimetric L-band Multi-beam Radiometer (PLMR)-derived SM products (~700 m). From the poor BME predictions obtained by merging only WSN and SEE data, we observed that the SM heterogeneity caused by irrigation and the attenuating sensitivity of the SEE data to SM caused by the canopies result in BME prediction errors. By adding irrigation statistics to the merged datasets, the overall RMSD of the BME predictions during the low-vegetated periods can be successively reduced from 0.052 m3·m−3 to 0.033 m3·m−3. The coefficient of determination (R2) and slope between the predicted and in situ measured SM data increased from 0.32 to 0.64 and from 0.38 to 0.82, respectively, but large estimation errors occurred during the moderately vegetated periods (RMSD = 0.041 m3·m−3, R = 0.43 and the slope = 0.41). Further adding the downscaled SM information from PLMR SM products to the merged datasets, the predictions were satisfactorily accurate with an RMSD of 0.034 m3·m−3, R2 of 0.4 and a slope of 0.69 during moderately vegetated periods. Overall, the results demonstrated that merging multi-resource observations into SM estimations can yield improved accuracy in heterogeneous cropland. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Upscaling Algorithm to Obtain the Representative Ground Truth of LAI Time Series in Heterogeneous Land Surface
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(10), 12887-12908; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs71012887 - 30 Sep 2015
Cited by 11
Abstract
Upscaling in situ leaf area index (LAI) measurements to the footprint scale is important for the validation of medium resolution remote sensing products. However, surface heterogeneity and temporal variation of vegetation make this difficult. In this study, a two-step upscaling algorithm was developed [...] Read more.
Upscaling in situ leaf area index (LAI) measurements to the footprint scale is important for the validation of medium resolution remote sensing products. However, surface heterogeneity and temporal variation of vegetation make this difficult. In this study, a two-step upscaling algorithm was developed to obtain the representative ground truth of LAI time series in heterogeneous surfaces based on in situ LAI data measured by the wireless sensor network (WSN) observation system. Since heterogeneity within a site usually arises from the mixture of vegetation and non-vegetation surfaces, the spatial heterogeneity of vegetation and land cover types were separately considered. Representative LAI time series of vegetation surfaces were obtained by upscaling in situ measurements using an optimal weighted combination method, incorporating the expectation maximum (EM) algorithm to derive the weights. The ground truth of LAI over the whole site could then be determined using area weighted combination of representative LAIs of different land cover types. The algorithm was evaluated using a dataset collected in Heihe Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research (HiWater) experiment. The proposed algorithm can effectively obtain the representative ground truth of LAI time series in heterogeneous cropland areas. Using the normal method of an average LAI measurement to represent the heterogeneous surface produced a root mean square error (RMSE) of 0.69, whereas the proposed algorithm provided RMSE = 0.032 using 23 sampling points. The proposed ground truth derived method was implemented to validate four major LAI products. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Global Grassland Drought Index (GDI) Product: Algorithm and Validation
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(10), 12704-12736; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs71012704 - 28 Sep 2015
Cited by 7
Abstract
Existing drought indices have been widely used to monitor meteorological drought and agricultural drought; however, few of them are focus on drought monitoring for grassland regions. This study presented a new drought index, the Grassland Drought Index (GDI), for monitoring drought conditions in [...] Read more.
Existing drought indices have been widely used to monitor meteorological drought and agricultural drought; however, few of them are focus on drought monitoring for grassland regions. This study presented a new drought index, the Grassland Drought Index (GDI), for monitoring drought conditions in global grassland regions. These regions are vital for the environment and human society but susceptible to drought. The GDI was constructed based on three measures of water content: precipitation, soil moisture (SM), and canopy water content (CWC). The precipitation information was extracted from the available precipitation datasets, and SM was estimated by downscaling exiting soil moisture data to a 1 km resolution, and CWC was retrieved based on the PROSAIL (PROSPECT + SAIL) model. Each variable was scaled from 0 to 1 for each pixel based on absolute minimum and maximum values over time, and these scaled variables were combined with the selected weights to construct the GDI. According to validation at the regional scale, the GDI was correlated with the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) to some extent, and captured most of the drought area identified by the United States Drought Monitor (USDM) maps. In addition, the global GDI product at a 1 km spatial resolution substantially agreed with the global Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) product throughout the period 2005–2010, and it provided detailed and accurate information about the location and the duration of drought based on the evaluation using the known drought events. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Upscaling In Situ Soil Moisture Observations to Pixel Averages with Spatio-Temporal Geostatistics
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(9), 11372-11388; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70911372 - 07 Sep 2015
Cited by 21
Abstract
Validation of satellite-based soil moisture products is necessary to provide users with an assessment of their accuracy and reliability and to ensure quality of information. A key step in the validation process is to upscale point-scale, ground-based soil moisture observations to satellite-scale pixel [...] Read more.
Validation of satellite-based soil moisture products is necessary to provide users with an assessment of their accuracy and reliability and to ensure quality of information. A key step in the validation process is to upscale point-scale, ground-based soil moisture observations to satellite-scale pixel averages. When soil moisture shows high spatial heterogeneity within pixels, a strategy which captures the spatial characteristics is essential for the upscaling process. In addition, temporal variation in soil moisture must be taken into account when measurement times of ground-based and satellite-based observations are not the same. We applied spatio-temporal regression block kriging (STRBK) to upscale in situ soil moisture observations collected as time series at multiple locations to pixel averages. STRBK incorporates auxiliary information such as maps of vegetation and land surface temperature to improve predictions and exploits the spatio-temporal correlation structure of the point-scale soil moisture observations. In addition, STRBK also quantifies the uncertainty associated with the upscaled soil moisture which allows bias detection and significance testing of satellite-based soil moisture products. The approach is illustrated with a real-world application for upscaling in situ soil moisture observations for validating the Polarimetric L-band Multi-beam Radiometer (PLMR) retrieved soil moisture product in the Heihe Water Allied Telemetry Experimental Research experiment (HiWATER). The results show that STRBK yields upscaled soil moisture predictions that are sufficiently accurate for validation purposes. Comparison of the upscaled predictions with PLMR soil moisture observations shows that the root-mean-squared error of the PLMR soil moisture product is about 0.03 m3·m−3 and can be used as a high-resolution soil moisture product for watershed-scale soil moisture monitoring. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Water Use Efficiency Derived from MODIS Products against Eddy Variance Measurements in China
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(9), 11183-11201; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70911183 - 31 Aug 2015
Cited by 17
Abstract
Water use efficiency (WUE) is a useful indicator to illustrate the interaction of carbon and water cycles in terrestrial ecosystems. MODIS gross primary production (GPP) and evapotranspiration (ET) products have been used to analyze the spatial and temporal patterns of WUE and their [...] Read more.
Water use efficiency (WUE) is a useful indicator to illustrate the interaction of carbon and water cycles in terrestrial ecosystems. MODIS gross primary production (GPP) and evapotranspiration (ET) products have been used to analyze the spatial and temporal patterns of WUE and their relationships with environmental factors at regional and global scales. Although MODIS GPP and ET products have been evaluated using eddy covariance flux measurements, the accuracy of WUE estimated from MODIS products has not been well quantified. In this paper, we evaluated WUE estimated from MODIS GPP and ET products against eddy covariance measurements of GPP and ET during 2003–2008 at eight sites of the Chinese flux observation and research network (ChinaFLUX) and conducted sensitivity analysis to investigate the possible key contributors to the bias of MODIS products. Results show that MODIS products underestimate eight-day water use efficiency in four forest ecosystems and one cropland ecosystem with the bias from −0.36–−2.28 g·C·kg1 H2O, while overestimating it in three grassland ecosystems with the bias from 0.26–1.11 g·C·kg1 H2O. Mean annual WUE was underestimated by 14%–54% at four forest sites, 45% at one cropland site and 7% at an alpine grassland site, but overestimated by 66% and 9% at a temperate grassland site and an alpine meadow site, respectively. The underestimation of WUE by MODIS data results from underestimated GPP and overestimated ET at four forest sites, while MODIS WUE values are significantly overvalued mainly due to underestimated ET in the three grassland ecosystems. The maximum light use efficiency and fraction of photosynthetically-active radiation (FPAR) were the two most sensitive factors to the estimation of WUE derived from the MODIS GPP and ET algorithms. The error in meteorological data partly caused the overestimation of ET and accordingly underestimation in WUE in subtropical and tropical forests. The bias of MODIS-produced WUE was also derived from the uncertainties in eddy flux data due to gap-filling processes and unbalanced surface energy issue. Their contributions to the uncertainty in estimated WUE at both eight-day and annual scales still need to be further quantified. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modifying Geometric-Optical Bidirectional Reflectance Model for Direct Inversion of Forest Canopy Leaf Area Index
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(9), 11083-11104; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70911083 - 28 Aug 2015
Cited by 7
Abstract
Forest canopy leaf area index (LAI) inversion based on remote sensing data is an important method to obtain LAI. Currently, the most widely-used model to achieve forest canopy structure parameters is the Li-Strahler geometric-optical bidirectional reflectance model, by considering the effect of crown [...] Read more.
Forest canopy leaf area index (LAI) inversion based on remote sensing data is an important method to obtain LAI. Currently, the most widely-used model to achieve forest canopy structure parameters is the Li-Strahler geometric-optical bidirectional reflectance model, by considering the effect of crown shape and mutual shadowing, which is referred to as the GOMS model. However, it is difficult to retrieve LAI through the GOMS model directly because LAI is not a fundamental parameter of the model. In this study, a gap probability model was used to obtain the relationship between the canopy structure parameter nR2 and LAI. Thus, LAI was introduced into the GOMS model as an independent variable by replacing nR2 The modified GOMS (MGOMS) model was validated by application to Dayekou in the Heihe River Basin of China. The LAI retrieved using the MGOMS model with optical multi-angle remote sensing data, high spatial resolution images and field-measured data was in good agreement with the field-measured LAI, with an R-square (R2) of 0.64, and an RMSE of 0.67. The results demonstrate that the MGOMS model obtained by replacing the canopy structure parameter nR2 of the GOMS model with LAI can be used to invert LAI directly and precisely. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Calibration of the L-MEB Model for Croplands in HiWATER Using PLMR Observation
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(8), 10878-10897; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70810878 - 24 Aug 2015
Cited by 5
Abstract
The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission was initiated in 2009 with the goal of acquiring global soil moisture data over land using multi-angular L-band radiometric measurements. Specifically, surface soil moisture was estimated using the L-band Microwave Emission of the Biosphere (L-MEB) [...] Read more.
The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission was initiated in 2009 with the goal of acquiring global soil moisture data over land using multi-angular L-band radiometric measurements. Specifically, surface soil moisture was estimated using the L-band Microwave Emission of the Biosphere (L-MEB) radiative transfer model. This study evaluated the applicability of this model to the Heihe River Basin in Northern China for specific underlying surfaces by simulating brightness temperature (BT) with the L-MEB model. To analyze the influence of a ground sampling strategy on the simulations, two resampling methods based on ground observations were compared. In the first method, the simulated BT of each point observation was initially acquired. The simulations were then resampled at a 1 km resolution. The other method was based on gridded data with a resolution of 1 km averaged from point observations, such as soil moisture, soil temperature, and soil texture. The simulated BTs at a 1 km resolution were then obtained using the L-MEB model. Because of the large variability in soil moisture, the resampling method based on gridded data was used in the simulation. The simulated BTs based on the calibrated parameters were validated using airborne L-band data from the Polarimetric L-band Multibeam Radiometer (PLMR) acquired during the HiWATER project. The root mean square errors (RMSEs) between the simulated results and the PLMR data were 6 to 7 K for V-polarization and 3 to 5 K for H-polarization at different angles. These results demonstrate that the model effectively represents agricultural land surfaces, and this study will serve as a reference for applying the L-MEB model in arid regions and for selecting a ground sampling strategy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cross-Calibration of GF-1/WFV over a Desert Site Using Landsat-8/OLI Imagery and ZY-3/TLC Data
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(8), 10763-10787; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70810763 - 20 Aug 2015
Cited by 18
Abstract
The wide field of view (WFV) is an optical imaging sensor on-board the Gao Fen 1 (GF-1). The WFV lacks an on-board calibrator, so on-orbit radiometric calibration is required. Zhong et al. proposed a method for cross-calibrating the charge-coupled device on-board the Chinese [...] Read more.
The wide field of view (WFV) is an optical imaging sensor on-board the Gao Fen 1 (GF-1). The WFV lacks an on-board calibrator, so on-orbit radiometric calibration is required. Zhong et al. proposed a method for cross-calibrating the charge-coupled device on-board the Chinese Huan Jing 1 (HJ-1/CCD) that can be applied to the GF-1/WFV. However, the accuracy is limited because of the wider radiometric dynamic range and the higher spatial resolution of the GF-1/WFV. Therefore, Landsat-8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) imagery with a radiometric resolution similar to that of the GF-1/WFV and DEM extracted from ZY-3 three-line array panchromatic camera (TLC) with a higher spatial resolution were used. A calibration site with uniform surface material and a natural topographic variation was selected, and a model of this site’s bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) was developed. The model has excellent agreement with the real situation, as shown by the comparison of the simulations to the actual OLI surface reflectance. Then, the model was used to calibrate the WFV. Compared with the TOA reflectance from synchronized Landsat-8/OLI images, all errors calculated with the calibration coefficients retrieved in this paper are less than 5%, much less than the errors calculated with the calibration coefficients given by the China Centre for Resource Satellite Data and Application (CRESDA). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Gravimetric Vegetation Water Content Estimation for Corn Using L-Band Bi-Angular, Dual-Polarized Brightness Temperatures and Leaf Area Index
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(8), 10543-10561; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70810543 - 17 Aug 2015
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this study, an algorithm to retrieve the gravimetric vegetation water content (GVWC, %) of corn was developed. First, the method for obtaining the optical depth from L-band (1.4 GHz) bi-angular, dual-polarized brightness temperatures (TB) for short vegetation was investigated. Then, the quantitative [...] Read more.
In this study, an algorithm to retrieve the gravimetric vegetation water content (GVWC, %) of corn was developed. First, the method for obtaining the optical depth from L-band (1.4 GHz) bi-angular, dual-polarized brightness temperatures (TB) for short vegetation was investigated. Then, the quantitative relationship between the corn optical depth, corn GVWC and corn leaf area index (LAI) was constructed. Finally, using the Polarimetric L-band Microwave Radiometer (PLMR) airborne data in the 2012 Heihe Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research (HiWATER) project, the Global Land Surface Satellite (GLASS) LAI product, the height and areal density of the corn stalks, the corn GVWC was estimated (corn GLASS-GVWC). Both the in situ measured corn GVWC and the corn GVWC retrieved based on the in situ measured corn LAI (corn LAINET-GVWC) were used to validate the accuracy of the corn GLASS-GVWC. The results show that the GVWC retrieval method proposed in this study is feasible for monitoring the corn GVWC. However, the accuracy of the retrieval results is highly sensitive to the accuracy of the LAI input parameters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Extracting the Green Fractional Vegetation Cover from Digital Images Using a Shadow-Resistant Algorithm (SHAR-LABFVC)
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(8), 10425-10443; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70810425 - 14 Aug 2015
Cited by 32
Abstract
Taking photographs with a commercially available digital camera is an efficient and objective method for determining the green fractional vegetation cover (FVC) for field validation of satellite products. However, classifying leaves under shadows in processing digital images remains challenging and results in classification [...] Read more.
Taking photographs with a commercially available digital camera is an efficient and objective method for determining the green fractional vegetation cover (FVC) for field validation of satellite products. However, classifying leaves under shadows in processing digital images remains challenging and results in classification errors. To address this problem, an automatic shadow-resistant algorithm in the Commission Internationale d’Eclairage L*a*b* color space (SHAR-LABFVC) based on a documented FVC estimation algorithm (LABFVC) is proposed in this paper. The hue saturation intensity (HSI) is introduced in SHAR-LABFVC to enhance the brightness of shaded parts of the image. The lognormal distribution is used to fit the frequency of vegetation greenness and to classify vegetation and the background. Real and synthesized images are used for evaluation, and the results are in good agreement with the visual interpretation, particularly when the FVC is high and the shadows are deep, indicating that SHAR-LABFVC is shadow resistant. Without specific improvements to reduce the shadow effect, the underestimation of FVC can be up to 0.2 in the flourishing period of vegetation at a scale of 10 m. Therefore, the proposed algorithm is expected to improve the validation accuracy of remote sensing products. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development and Evaluation of a River-Basin-Scale High Spatio-Temporal Precipitation Data Set Using the WRF Model: A Case Study of the Heihe River Basin
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(7), 9230-9252; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70709230 - 20 Jul 2015
Cited by 12
Abstract
To obtain long term accurate high resolution precipitation for the Heihe River Basin (HRB), Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model simulations were performed using two different initial boundary conditions, with nine microphysical processes for different analysis parameterization schemes. High spatial-temporal precipitation was simulated [...] Read more.
To obtain long term accurate high resolution precipitation for the Heihe River Basin (HRB), Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model simulations were performed using two different initial boundary conditions, with nine microphysical processes for different analysis parameterization schemes. High spatial-temporal precipitation was simulated from 2000 to 2013 and a suitable set of initial, boundary, and micro parameters for the HRB was evaluated from the Heihe Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research project and Chinese Meteorological Administration data at hourly, daily, monthly, and annual time scales using various statistical indicators. It was found that annual precipitation has gradually increased over the HRB since 2000. Precipitation mostly occurs in summer and is higher in monsoon-influenced areas. High elevations experience winter snowfall. Precipitation is higher in the eastern upstream area than in the western upstream, area; however, the converse occurs in winter. Precipitation gradually increases with elevation from 1000 m to 4000 m, and the maximum precipitation occurs at the height of 3500–4000 m, then the precipitation slowly decreases with elevation from 4000 m to the top over the Qilian Mountains. Precipitation is scare and has a high temporal variation in the downstream area. Results are systematically validated using the in situ observations in this region and it was found that precipitation simulated by the WRF model using suitable physical configuration agrees well with the observation over the HRB at hourly, daily, monthly and yearly scales, as well as at spatial pattern. We also conclude that the dynamic downscaling using the WRF model is capable of producing high-resolution and reliable precipitation over complex mountainous areas and extremely arid environments. The downscaled data can meet the requirement of river basin scale hydrological modeling and water balance analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Downscaling Snow Cover Fraction Data in Mountainous Regions Based on Simulated Inhomogeneous Snow Ablation
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(7), 8995-9019; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70708995 - 16 Jul 2015
Cited by 10
Abstract
High-resolution snow distributions are essential for studying cold regions. However, the temporal and spatial resolutions of current remote sensing snow maps remain limited. Remotely sensed snow cover fraction (SCF) data only provide quantitative descriptions of snow area proportions and do not provide information [...] Read more.
High-resolution snow distributions are essential for studying cold regions. However, the temporal and spatial resolutions of current remote sensing snow maps remain limited. Remotely sensed snow cover fraction (SCF) data only provide quantitative descriptions of snow area proportions and do not provide information on subgrid-scale snow locations. We present a downscaling method based on simulated inhomogeneous snow ablation capacities that are driven by air temperature and solar radiation data. This method employs a single parameter to adjust potential snow ablation capacities. Using this method, SCF data with a resolution of 500 m are downscaled to a resolution of 30 m. Then, 18 remotely sensed TM, CHRIS and EO-1 snow maps are used to verify the downscaled results. The mean overall accuracy is 0.69, the average root-mean-square error (RMSE) of snow-covered slopes between the downscaled snow map and the real snow map is 3.9°, and the average RMSE of the sine of the snow covered aspects between the downscaled snow map and the real snow map is 0.34, which is equivalent to 19.9°. This method can be applied to high-resolution snow mapping in similar mountainous regions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Inter-Calibrating SMMR, SSM/I and SSMI/S Data to Improve the Consistency of Snow-Depth Products in China
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(6), 7212-7230; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70607212 - 02 Jun 2015
Cited by 35
Abstract
Long-term snow depth/snow water equivalent (SWE) products derived from passive microwave remote sensing data are fundamental for climatological and hydrological studies. However, the temporal continuity of the products is affected by the updating or replacement of passive microwave sensors or satellite platforms. In [...] Read more.
Long-term snow depth/snow water equivalent (SWE) products derived from passive microwave remote sensing data are fundamental for climatological and hydrological studies. However, the temporal continuity of the products is affected by the updating or replacement of passive microwave sensors or satellite platforms. In this study, we inter-calibrated brightness temperature (Tb) data obtained from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) and the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMI/S). Then, we evaluated the consistency of the snow cover area (SCA) and snow depth derived from the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR), SSM/I and SSMI/S. The results indicated that (1) the spatial pattern of the SCA derived from the SMMR and SSM/I data was more consistent after calibration than before; (2) the relative biases in the SCA and snow depth in China between the SSM/I and SSMI/S data decreased from 42.42% to 1.65% and from 66.18% to −1.5%, respectively; and (3) the SCA and snow depth derived from the SSM/I data carried on F08, F11 and F13 were highly consistent. To obtain consistent snow depth and SCA products, inter-sensor calibrations between SMMR, SSM/I and SSMI/S are important. In consideration of the snow data product continuation, we suggest that the brightness temperature data from all sensors be calibrated based on SSMI/S. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Validation and Performance Evaluations of Methods for Estimating Land Surface Temperatures from ASTER Data in the Middle Reach of the Heihe River Basin, Northwest China
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(6), 7126-7156; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70607126 - 29 May 2015
Cited by 26
Abstract
Validation and performance evaluations are beneficial for developing methods that estimate the remotely sensed land surface temperature (LST). However, such evaluations for Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data are rare. By selecting the middle reach of the Heihe River basin [...] Read more.
Validation and performance evaluations are beneficial for developing methods that estimate the remotely sensed land surface temperature (LST). However, such evaluations for Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data are rare. By selecting the middle reach of the Heihe River basin (HRB), China, as the study area, the atmospheric correction (AC), mono-window (MW), single-channel (SC), and split-window (SW) methods were evaluated based on in situ measured LSTs. Results demonstrate that the influences of surface heterogeneity on the validation are significant in the study area. For the AC, MW, and SC methods, the LSTs estimated from channel 13 are more accurate than those from channel 14 in general cases. When the in situ measured atmospheric profiles are available, the AC method has the highest accuracy, with a root-mean squared error (RMSE) of about 1.4–1.5 K at the homogenous oasis sites. In actual application without sufficient in situ measured inputs, the MW method is highly accurate; the RMSE is around 1.5–1.6 K. The SC method systematically overestimates LSTs and it is sensitive to error in the water vapor content. The two SW methods are simple to use but their performances are limited by accuracies, revealed by the simulation dataset. Therefore, when the in situ atmospheric profiles are available, the AC method is recommended to generate reliable ASTER LSTs for modeling the eco-hydrological processes in the middle reach of the HRB. When sufficient in situ measured inputs are not available, the MW method can be used instead. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Land Surface Temperature Retrieval from FY-3B/VIRR Data in an Arid Area of Northwestern China
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(6), 7080-7104; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70607080 - 29 May 2015
Cited by 16
Abstract
This paper uses the refined Generalized Split-Window (GSW) algorithm to derive the land surface temperature (LST) from the data acquired by the Visible and Infrared Radiometer on FengYun 3B (FY-3B/VIRR). The coefficients in the GSW algorithm corresponding to a series of overlapping ranges [...] Read more.
This paper uses the refined Generalized Split-Window (GSW) algorithm to derive the land surface temperature (LST) from the data acquired by the Visible and Infrared Radiometer on FengYun 3B (FY-3B/VIRR). The coefficients in the GSW algorithm corresponding to a series of overlapping ranges for the mean emissivity, the atmospheric Water Vapor Content (WVC), and the LST are derived using a statistical regression method from the numerical values simulated with an accurate atmospheric radiative transfer model MODTRAN 4 over a wide range of atmospheric and surface conditions. The GSW algorithm is applied to retrieve LST from FY-3B/VIRR data in an arid area in northwestern China. Three emissivity databases are used to evaluate the accuracy of different emissivity databases for LST retrieval, including the ASTER Global Emissivity Database (ASTER_GED) at a 1-km spatial resolution (AG1km), an average of twelve ASTER emissivity data in the 2012 summer and emissivity spectra extracted from spectral libraries. The LSTs retrieved from the three emissivity databases are evaluated with ground-measured LST at four barren surface sites from June 2012 to December 2013 collected during the HiWATER field campaign. The results indicate that using emissivity extracted from ASTER_GED can achieve the highest accuracy with an average bias of 1.26 and −0.04 K and an average root mean square error (RMSE) of 2.69 and 1.38 K for the four sites during daytime and nighttime, respectively. This result indicates that ASTER_GED is a useful emissivity database for generating global LST products from different thermal infrared data and that using FY-3B/VIRR data can produce reliable LST products for other research areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Toward Improved Daily Cloud-Free Fractional Snow Cover Mapping with Multi-Source Remote Sensing Data in China
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(6), 6986-7006; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70606986 - 29 May 2015
Cited by 17
Abstract
With the high resolution of optical data and the lack of weather effects of passive microwave data, we developed an algorithm to map daily cloud-free fractional snow cover (FSC) based on the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) standard daily FSC product, the Advanced [...] Read more.
With the high resolution of optical data and the lack of weather effects of passive microwave data, we developed an algorithm to map daily cloud-free fractional snow cover (FSC) based on the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) standard daily FSC product, the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR2) snow water equivalent (SWE) product and digital elevation data. We then used the algorithm to produce a daily cloud-free FSC product with a resolution of 500 m for regions in China. In addition, we produced a high-resolution FSC map using a Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) image as a true value to test the accuracy of the cloud-free FSC product developed in this study. The analysis results show that the daily cloud-free FSC product developed in this study can completely remove clouds and effectively improve the accuracy of snow area monitoring. Compared to the true value, the mean absolute error of our product is 0.20, and its root mean square error is 0.29. Thus, the synthesized product in this study can improve the accuracy of snow area monitoring, and the obtained snow area data can be used as reliable input parameters for hydrological and climate models. The land cover type and terrain factors are the main factors that limit the accuracy of the daily cloud-free FSC product developed in this study. These limitations can be further improved by improving the accuracy of the MODIS standard snow product for complicated underlying surfaces. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterizing the Pixel Footprint of Satellite Albedo Products Derived from MODIS Reflectance in the Heihe River Basin, China
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(6), 6886-6907; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70606886 - 28 May 2015
Cited by 11
Abstract
The adjacency effect and non-uniform responses complicate the precise delimitation of the surface support of remote sensing data and their derived products. Thus, modeling spatial response characteristics (SRCs) prior to using remote sensing information has become important. A point spread function (PSF) is [...] Read more.
The adjacency effect and non-uniform responses complicate the precise delimitation of the surface support of remote sensing data and their derived products. Thus, modeling spatial response characteristics (SRCs) prior to using remote sensing information has become important. A point spread function (PSF) is typically used to describe the SRCs of the observation cells from remote sensors and is always estimated in a laboratory before the sensor is launched. However, research on the SRCs of high-order remote sensing products derived from the observations remains insufficient, which is an obstacle to converting between multi-scale remote sensing products and validating coarse-resolution products. This study proposed a method that combines simulation and validation to establish SRC models of coarse-resolution albedo products. Two series of commonly used 500-m/1-km resolution albedo products, which are derived from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) reflectance data, were investigated using 30-m albedo products that provide the required sub-pixel information. The analysis proves that the size of the surface support of each albedo pixel is larger than the nominal resolution of the pixel and that the response weight is non-uniformly distributed, with an elliptical Gaussian shape. The proposed methodology is generic and applicable for analyzing the SRCs of other advanced remote sensing products. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Leaf Area Index Retrieval Combining HJ1/CCD and Landsat8/OLI Data in the Heihe River Basin, China
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(6), 6862-6885; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70606862 - 28 May 2015
Cited by 20
Abstract
The primary restriction on high resolution remote sensing data is the limit observation frequency. Using a network of multiple sensors is an efficient approach to increase the observations in a specific period. This study explores a leaf area index (LAI) inversion method based [...] Read more.
The primary restriction on high resolution remote sensing data is the limit observation frequency. Using a network of multiple sensors is an efficient approach to increase the observations in a specific period. This study explores a leaf area index (LAI) inversion method based on a 30 m multi-sensor dataset generated from HJ1/CCD and Landsat8/OLI, from June to August 2013 in the middle reach of the Heihe River Basin, China. The characteristics of the multi-sensor dataset, including the percentage of valid observations, the distribution of observation angles and the variation between different sensor observations, were analyzed. To reduce the possible discrepancy between different satellite sensors on LAI inversion, a quality control system for the observations was designed. LAI is retrieved from the high quality of single-sensor observations based on a look-up table constructed by a unified model. The averaged LAI inversion over a 10-day period is set as the synthetic LAI value. The percentage of valid LAI inversions increases significantly from 6.4% to 49.7% for single-sensors to 75.9% for multi-sensors. LAI retrieved from the multi-sensor dataset show good agreement with the field measurements. The correlation coefficient (R2) is 0.90, and the average root mean square error (RMSE) is 0.42. The network of multiple sensors with 30 m spatial resolution can generate LAI products with reasonable accuracy and meaningful temporal resolution. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a High Resolution BRDF/Albedo Product by Fusing Airborne CASI Reflectance with MODIS Daily Reflectance in the Oasis Area of the Heihe River Basin, China
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(6), 6784-6807; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70606784 - 28 May 2015
Cited by 10
Abstract
A land-cover-based linear BRDF (bi-directional reflectance distribution function) unmixing (LLBU) algorithm based on the kernel-driven model is proposed to combine the compact airborne spectrographic imager (CASI) reflectance with the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) daily reflectance product to derive the BRDF/albedo of the [...] Read more.
A land-cover-based linear BRDF (bi-directional reflectance distribution function) unmixing (LLBU) algorithm based on the kernel-driven model is proposed to combine the compact airborne spectrographic imager (CASI) reflectance with the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) daily reflectance product to derive the BRDF/albedo of the two sensors simultaneously in the foci experimental area (FEA) of the Heihe Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research (HiWATER), which was carried out in the Heihe River basin, China. For each land cover type, an archetypal BRDF, which characterizes the shape of its anisotropic reflectance, is extracted by linearly unmixing from the MODIS reflectance with the assistance of a high-resolution classification map. The isotropic coefficients accounting for the differences within a class are derived from the CASI reflectance. The BRDF is finally determined by the archetypal BRDF and the corresponding isotropic coefficients. Direct comparisons of the cropland archetypal BRDF and CASI albedo with in situ measurements show good agreement. An indirect validation which compares retrieved BRDF/albedo with that of the MCD43A1 standard product issued by NASA and aggregated CASI albedo also suggests reasonable reliability. LLBU has potential to retrieve the high spatial resolution BRDF/albedo product for airborne and spaceborne sensors which have inadequate angular samplings. In addition, it can shorten the timescale for coarse spatial resolution product like MODIS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Snow Cover Variations and Controlling Factors at Upper Heihe River Basin, Northwestern China
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(6), 6741-6762; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70606741 - 26 May 2015
Cited by 18
Abstract
Snow is an important water resource and greatly influences water availability in the downstream areas. In this study, snow cover variations of the Upper Heihe River Basin (UHRB) during hydrological years (HY) 2003–2013 (September through August) is examined using the flexible multiday-combined MODIS [...] Read more.
Snow is an important water resource and greatly influences water availability in the downstream areas. In this study, snow cover variations of the Upper Heihe River Basin (UHRB) during hydrological years (HY) 2003–2013 (September through August) is examined using the flexible multiday-combined MODIS snow cover products. Spatial distribution and pattern of snow cover from year to year for the basin is found to be relatively stable, with maximum snow cover area (SCA) and snow cover days occurring in HY2004, HY2008 and HY2012. A method, based on correlation coefficients between SCA and climate factors (mainly air temperature and precipitation), is presented to identify the threshold altitude that determines contributions of climate factors to SCA. A threshold altitude of 3650 ± 150 m is found for the UHRB, where below this altitude, both air temperature (Tair) and precipitation are negative factors on SCA, except in the winter season when both are positive factors. Above the threshold altitude, precipitation acts as a positive factor except in summer, while Tair is a negative factor except in autumn. Overall, Tair is the primary controlling factor on SCA below the threshold altitude, while precipitation is the primary controlling factor on SCA above the threshold altitude. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the Land Surface Temperature Scaling Problem: A Case Study of Airborne and Satellite Data over the Heihe Basin
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(5), 6489-6509; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70506489 - 22 May 2015
Cited by 8
Abstract
This study analyzed the scaling problem of land surface temperature (LST) data retrieved with the Temperature Emissivity Separation (TES) algorithm. We compiled a remotely sensed dataset that included Thermal Airborne Hyperspectral Imager (TASI) and satellite-based Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission Reflection (ASTER) data, which [...] Read more.
This study analyzed the scaling problem of land surface temperature (LST) data retrieved with the Temperature Emissivity Separation (TES) algorithm. We compiled a remotely sensed dataset that included Thermal Airborne Hyperspectral Imager (TASI) and satellite-based Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission Reflection (ASTER) data, which were acquired simultaneously. This dataset provided the range of spatial heterogeneities of land surface necessary for the study, which was quantified by the dispersion variance. The LST scaling problem was studied by comparing the remotely sensed LST products in two ways. First, the LST products calculated in the distributed method and the lumped method were compared. Second, the airborne and satellite-based LST products derived from the TES algorithm were compared. Four upscaling methods of LST were used in the process. A scaling correction methodology was developed based on the comparisons. The results showed that the scaling effect could be as large as 0.8 when the spatial resolution of the TASI LST data was coarse. The scaling effect increases quickly with the spatial resolution until it reaches the characteristic scale of the landscape and is positively correlated with the spatial heterogeneity. The first two upscaling methods denoted as Methods 1–2 can upscale the LST more effectively when compared with the other two scaling methods (Methods 3–4). The scaling effect for the ASTER data is not notable. The comparison between the TASI and ASTER data showed that they were highly consistent, with a root mean square error (RMSE) of approximately 0.88 K, when the pixels were relatively homogeneous. When the spatial heterogeneity was significant, the RMSE was as large as 2.68 K The scaling correction methodology provided resolution-invariant results with scaling effects of less than 0.5 K. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Revised Temporal Scaling Method to Yield Better ET Estimates at a Regional Scale
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(5), 6433-6453; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70506433 - 21 May 2015
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study presents a revised temporal scaling method based on a detection algorithm for the temporal stability of the evaporative fraction (EF) to estimate total daytime evapotranspiration (ET) at a regional scale. The study area is located in the Heihe River Basin, which [...] Read more.
This study presents a revised temporal scaling method based on a detection algorithm for the temporal stability of the evaporative fraction (EF) to estimate total daytime evapotranspiration (ET) at a regional scale. The study area is located in the Heihe River Basin, which is the second largest inland river basin in China. The remote sensing data and field observations used in this study were obtained from the Heihe Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research (HiWATER) project. The half-hourly EF values (EFEC) calculated using meteorological observations from an eddy covariance (EC) system and an automatic meteorological station (AMS) represented the diurnal pattern of the EF across the majority of the study area. The remotely sensed instantaneous midday EF (EFASTER), which indicates the spatial distribution of the midday EF over the entire study area, was calculated from an Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) image. The temporal stability of EFEC was examined using a detection algorithm. Intervals with inconsistent EFEC values were distinguished from those with consistent EFEC values; the total daytime ET (from 9:00 to 19:00) within these interval types was integrated separately. Validation of the total daytime ET at the satellite pixel scale was conducted using measurements from17 EC towers. Using the detection algorithm for the temporal stability of the EF and dynamic adjustment, the revised temporal scaling method resulted in a root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 0.54 (mm·d−1), a mean relative error (MRE) of 7.26% and a correlation coefficient (Corr.) of 0.81; all of these values were superior to those of the two other methods (i.e., the constant EF and variable EF methods). The revised method easily extends to other areas and exhibits a superior performance in flat and regularly-irrigated farmlands at the regional scale. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A New Algorithm of the FPAR Product in the Heihe River Basin Considering the Contributions of Direct and Diffuse Solar Radiation Separately
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(5), 6414-6432; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70506414 - 21 May 2015
Cited by 3
Abstract
It remains a challenging issue to accurately estimate the fraction of absorbed photosynthetically-active radiation (FPAR) using remote sensing data, as the direct and diffuse radiation reaching the vegetation canopy have different effects for FPAR. In this research, a FPAR inversion model was developed [...] Read more.
It remains a challenging issue to accurately estimate the fraction of absorbed photosynthetically-active radiation (FPAR) using remote sensing data, as the direct and diffuse radiation reaching the vegetation canopy have different effects for FPAR. In this research, a FPAR inversion model was developed that may distinguish direct and diffuse radiation (the DnD model) based on the energy budget balance principle. Taking different solar zenith angles and diffuse PAR proportions as inputs, the instantaneous FPAR could be calculated. As the leaf area index (LAI) and surface albedo do not vary in a short periods, the FPAR not only on a clear day, but also on a cloudy day may be calculated. This new method was used to produce the FPAR products in the Heihe River Basin with the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) LAI and surface albedo products as the input data source. The instantaneous FPAR was validated by using field-measured data (RMSE is 0.03, R2 is 0.85). The daily average FPAR was compared with the MODIS FPAR product. The inversion results and the MODIS FPAR product are highly correlated, but the MODIS FPAR product is slightly high in forest areas, which is in agreement with other studies for MODIS FPAR products. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Using the Surface Temperature-Albedo Space to Separate Regional Soil and Vegetation Temperatures from ASTER Data
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(5), 5828-5848; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70505828 - 08 May 2015
Cited by 8
Abstract
Soil and vegetation component temperatures in non-isothermal pixels encapsulate more physical meaning and are more applicable than composite temperatures. The component temperatures however are difficult to be obtained from thermal infrared (TIR) remote sensing data provided by single view angle observations. Here, we [...] Read more.
Soil and vegetation component temperatures in non-isothermal pixels encapsulate more physical meaning and are more applicable than composite temperatures. The component temperatures however are difficult to be obtained from thermal infrared (TIR) remote sensing data provided by single view angle observations. Here, we present a land surface temperature and albedo (T-α) space approach combined with the mono-surface energy balance (SEB-1S) model to derive soil and vegetation component temperatures. The T-α space can be established from visible and near infrared (VNIR) and TIR data provided by single view angle observations. This approach separates the soil and vegetation component temperatures from the remotely sensed composite temperatures by incorporating soil wetness iso-lines for defining equivalent soil temperatures; this allows vegetation temperatures to be extracted from the T-α space. This temperature separation methodology was applied to advanced scanning thermal emission and reflection radiometer (ASTER) VNIR and high spatial resolution TIR image data in an artificial oasis area during the entire growing season. Comparisons with ground measurements showed that the T-α space approach produced reliable soil and vegetation component temperatures in the study area. Low root mean square error (RMSE) values of 0.83 K for soil temperatures and 1.64 K for vegetation temperatures, respectively, were obtained, compared to component temperatures measurements from a ground-based thermal camera. These results support the use of soil wetness iso-lines to derive soil surface temperatures. It was also found that the estimated vegetation temperatures were extremely close to the near surface air temperature observations when the landscape is well watered under full vegetation cover. More robust soil and vegetation temperature estimates will improve estimates of soil evaporation and vegetation transpiration, leading to more reliable the monitoring of crop water stress and drought. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison and Validation of Long Time Serial Global GEOV1 and Regional Australian MODIS Fractional Vegetation Cover Products Over the Australian Continent
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(5), 5718-5733; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70505718 - 05 May 2015
Cited by 5
Abstract
Fractional vegetation cover (FVC) is one of the most critical parameters in monitoring vegetation status. Comprehensive assessment of the FVC products is critical for their improvement and use in land surface models. This study investigates the performances of two major long time serial [...] Read more.
Fractional vegetation cover (FVC) is one of the most critical parameters in monitoring vegetation status. Comprehensive assessment of the FVC products is critical for their improvement and use in land surface models. This study investigates the performances of two major long time serial FVC products: GEOV1 and Australian MODIS. The spatial and temporal consistencies of these products were compared during the 2000–2012 period over the main biome types across the Australian continent. Their accuracies were validated by 443 FVC in-situ measurements during the 2011–2012 period. Our results show that there are strong correlations between the GEOV1 and Australian MODIS FVC products over the main Australian continent while they exhibit large differences and uncertainties in the coastal regions covered by dense forests. GEOV1 and Australian MODIS describe similar seasonal variations over the main biome types with differences in magnitude, while Australian MODIS exhibit unstable temporal variations over grasslands and shifted seasonal variations over evergreen broadleaf forests. The GEOV1 and Australian MODIS products overestimate FVC values over the biome types with high vegetation density and underestimate FVC in sparsely vegetated areas and grasslands. Overall, the GEOV1 and Australian MODIS FVC products agree with in-situ FVC values with a RMSE around 0.10 over the Australian continent. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparing the Dry Season In-Situ Leaf Area Index (LAI) Derived from High-Resolution RapidEye Imagery with MODIS LAI in a Namibian Savanna
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(4), 4834-4857; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70404834 - 20 Apr 2015
Cited by 13
Abstract
The Leaf Area Index (LAI) is one of the most frequently applied measures to characterize vegetation and its dynamics and functions with remote sensing. Satellite missions, such as NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) operationally produce global datasets of LAI. Due to their [...] Read more.
The Leaf Area Index (LAI) is one of the most frequently applied measures to characterize vegetation and its dynamics and functions with remote sensing. Satellite missions, such as NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) operationally produce global datasets of LAI. Due to their role as an input to large-scale modeling activities, evaluation and verification of such datasets are of high importance. In this context, savannas appear to be underrepresented with regards to their heterogeneous appearance (e.g., tree/grass-ratio, seasonality). Here, we aim to examine the LAI in a heterogeneous savanna ecosystem located in Namibia’s Owamboland during the dry season. Ground measurements of LAI are used to derive a high-resolution LAI model with RapidEye satellite data. This model is related to the corresponding MODIS LAI/FPAR (Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation) scene (MOD15A2) in order to evaluate its performance at the intended annual minimum during the dry season. Based on a field survey we first assessed vegetation patterns from species composition and elevation for 109 sites. Secondly, we measured in situ LAI to quantitatively estimate the available vegetation (mean = 0.28). Green LAI samples were then empirically modeled (LAImodel) with high resolution RapidEye imagery derived Difference Vegetation Index (DVI) using a linear regression (R2 = 0.71). As indicated by several measures of model performance, the comparison with MOD15A2 revealed moderate consistency mostly due to overestimation by the aggregated LAImodel. Model constraints aside, this study may point to important issues for MOD15A2 in savannas concerning the underlying MODIS Land Cover product (MCD12Q1) and a potential adjustment by means of the MODIS Burned Area product (MCD45A1). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Regional Leaf Area Index Retrieval Based on Remote Sensing: The Role of Radiative Transfer Model Selection
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(4), 4604-4625; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70404604 - 16 Apr 2015
Cited by 28
Abstract
Physically-based approaches for estimating Leaf Area Index (LAI) using remote sensing data rely on radiative transfer (RT) models. Currently, many RT models are freely available, but determining the appropriate RT model for LAI retrieval is still problematic. This study aims to evaluate the [...] Read more.
Physically-based approaches for estimating Leaf Area Index (LAI) using remote sensing data rely on radiative transfer (RT) models. Currently, many RT models are freely available, but determining the appropriate RT model for LAI retrieval is still problematic. This study aims to evaluate the necessity of RT model selection for LAI retrieval and to propose a retrieval methodology using different RT models for different vegetation types. Both actual experimental observations and RT model simulations were used to conduct the evaluation. Each of them includes needleleaf forests and croplands, which have contrasting structural attributes. The scattering from arbitrarily inclined leaves (SAIL) model and the four-scale model, which are 1D and 3D RT models, respectively, were used to simulate the synthetic test datasets. The experimental test dataset was established through two field campaigns conducted in the Heihe River Basin. The results show that the realistic representation of canopy structure in RT models is very important for LAI retrieval. If an unsuitable RT model is used, then the root mean squared error (RMSE) will increase from 0.43 to 0.60 in croplands and from 0.52 to 0.63 in forests. In addition, an RT model’s potential to retrieve LAI is limited by the availability of a priori information on RT model parameters. 3D RT models require more a priori information, which makes them have poorer generalization capability than 1D models. Therefore, physically-based retrieval algorithms should embed more than one RT model to account for the availability of a priori information and variations in structural attributes among different vegetation types. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Algorithm for Gross Primary Production (GPP) and Net Ecosystem Production (NEP) Estimations in the Midstream of the Heihe River Basin, China
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(4), 3651-3669; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70403651 - 27 Mar 2015
Cited by 5
Abstract
An accurate estimation of carbon fluxes is very important in carbon cycle studies. A remote sensing based gross primary production (GPP) and net ecosystem production (NEP) algorithm, RS-CFLUX, was presented in this work. The algorithm was calibrated with Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) [...] Read more.
An accurate estimation of carbon fluxes is very important in carbon cycle studies. A remote sensing based gross primary production (GPP) and net ecosystem production (NEP) algorithm, RS-CFLUX, was presented in this work. The algorithm was calibrated with Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method at Daman superstation and Zhangye wetland station in the midstream of the Heihe River Basin. Results indicated that both of the stations present high GPP (1442.04 g C/m2/year at Daman superstation and 928.89 g C/m2/year at Zhangye wetland station) and NEP (409.38 g C/m2/year at Daman superstation and 422.60 g C/m2/year at Zhangye wetland station). The RS-CFLUX model can correctly simulate the seasonal dynamics and quantities of carbon fluxes at both stations, using photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), land surface temperature (LST), normalized difference water index (NDWI) and enhanced vegetation index (EVI) as input. RS-CFLUX model were sensitive to maximum light use efficiency, respiration at reference temperature, activation energy parameter of respiration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial and Temporal Characteristics of Snow Cover in the Tizinafu Watershed of the Western Kunlun Mountains
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(4), 3426-3445; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70403426 - 24 Mar 2015
Cited by 13
Abstract
The Tizinafu watershed has a complex mountainous terrain in the western Kunlun Mountains; little study has been done on the spatial and temporal characteristics of snow cover in the region. Daily snow cover data of 10 hydrological years (October 2002 to September 2012) [...] Read more.
The Tizinafu watershed has a complex mountainous terrain in the western Kunlun Mountains; little study has been done on the spatial and temporal characteristics of snow cover in the region. Daily snow cover data of 10 hydrological years (October 2002 to September 2012) in the watershed were generated by combining MODIS Terra (MOD10A1) and Aqua (MYD10A1) snow cover products and employing a nine-day temporal filter for cloud reduction. The accuracy and window size of the temporal filter were assessed using a simulation approach. Spatial and temporal characteristics of snow cover in the watershed were then analyzed. Our results showed that snow generally starts melting in March and reaches the minimum in early August in the watershed. Snow cover percentages (SCPs) in all five elevation zones increase consistently with the rise of elevation. Slope doesn’t play a major role in snow cover distribution when it exceeds 10°. The largest SCP difference is between the south and the other aspects and occurs between mid-October and mid-November with decreasing SCP, indicating direct solar radiation may cause the reduction of snow cover. While both the mean snow cover durations (SCDs) of the hydrological years and of the snowmelt seasons share a similar spatial pattern to the topography of the watershed, the coefficient of variation of the SCDs exhibits an opposite spatial distribution. There is a significant correlation between annual mean SCP and annual total stream flow, indicating that snowmelt is a major source of stream runoff that might be predictable with SCP. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Temporal Upscaling and Reconstruction of Thermal Remotely Sensed Instantaneous Evapotranspiration
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(3), 3400-3425; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70303400 - 23 Mar 2015
Cited by 22
Abstract
Currently, thermal remote sensing-based evapotranspiration (ET) models can only calculate instantaneous ET at the time of satellite overpass. Five temporal upscaling methods, namely, constant evaporative fraction (ConEF), corrected ConEF (CorEF), diurnal evaporative fraction (DiEF), constant solar radiation ratio (SolRad), and constant reference evaporative [...] Read more.
Currently, thermal remote sensing-based evapotranspiration (ET) models can only calculate instantaneous ET at the time of satellite overpass. Five temporal upscaling methods, namely, constant evaporative fraction (ConEF), corrected ConEF (CorEF), diurnal evaporative fraction (DiEF), constant solar radiation ratio (SolRad), and constant reference evaporative fraction (ConETrF), were selected to upscale the instantaneous ET to daily values. Moreover, five temporal reconstruction approaches, namely, data assimilation (ET_EnKF and ET_SCE_UA), surface resistance (ET_SR), reference evapotranspiration (ET_ETrF), and harmonic analysis of time series (ET_HANTS), were used to produce continuous daily ET with discrete clear-sky daily ET values. For clear-sky daily ET generation, SolRad and ConETrF produced the best estimates. In contrast, ConEF usually underestimated the daily ET. The optimum method, however, was found by combining SolRad and ConETrF, which produced the lowest root-mean-square error (RMSE) values. For continuous daily ET production, ET_ETrF and ET_SCE_UA performed the best, whereas the ET_SR and ET_HANTS methods had large errors. The annual ET distributions over the Beijing area were calculated with these methods. The spatial ET distributions from ET_ETrF and ET_SCE_UA had the same trend as ETWatch products, and had a smaller RMSE when compared with ET observations derived from the water balance method. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of the Airborne CASI/TASI Ts-VI Space Method for Estimating Near-Surface Soil Moisture
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(3), 3114-3137; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70303114 - 18 Mar 2015
Cited by 23
Abstract
High spatial resolution airborne data with little sub-pixel heterogeneity were used to evaluate the suitability of the temperature/vegetation (Ts/VI) space method developed from satellite observations, and were explored to improve the performance of the Ts/VI space method for estimating soil moisture (SM). An [...] Read more.
High spatial resolution airborne data with little sub-pixel heterogeneity were used to evaluate the suitability of the temperature/vegetation (Ts/VI) space method developed from satellite observations, and were explored to improve the performance of the Ts/VI space method for estimating soil moisture (SM). An evaluation of the airborne ΔTs/Fr space (incorporated with air temperature) revealed that normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) saturation and disturbed pixels were hindering the appropriate construction of the space. The non-disturbed ΔTs/Fr space, which was modified by adjusting the NDVI saturation and eliminating the disturbed pixels, was clearly correlated with the measured SM. The SM estimations of the non-disturbed ΔTs/Fr space using the evaporative fraction (EF) and temperature vegetation dryness index (TVDI) were validated by using the SM measured at a depth of 4 cm, which was determined according to the land surface types. The validation results show that the EF approach provides superior estimates with a lower RMSE (0.023 m3·m−3) value and a higher correlation coefficient (0.68) than the TVDI. The application of the airborne ΔTs/Fr space shows that the two modifications proposed in this study strengthen the link between the ΔTs/Fr space and SM, which is important for improving the precision of the remote sensing Ts/VI space method for monitoring SM. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Six High-Resolution Satellite and Ground-Based Precipitation Products over Malaysia
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(2), 1504-1528; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70201504 - 29 Jan 2015
Cited by 107
Abstract
Satellite precipitation products (SPPs) potentially constitute an alternative to sparse rain gauge networks for assessing the spatial distribution of precipitation. However, applications of these products are still limited due to the lack of robust quality assessment. This study compares daily, monthly, seasonal, and [...] Read more.
Satellite precipitation products (SPPs) potentially constitute an alternative to sparse rain gauge networks for assessing the spatial distribution of precipitation. However, applications of these products are still limited due to the lack of robust quality assessment. This study compares daily, monthly, seasonal, and annual rainfall amount at 342 rain gauges over Malaysia to estimations using five SPPs (3B42RT, 3B42V7, GPCP-1DD, PERSIANN-CDR, and CMORPH) and a ground-based precipitation product (APHRODITE). The performance of the precipitation products was evaluated from 2003 to 2007 using continuous (RMSE, R2, ME, MAE, and RB) and categorical (ACC, POD, FAR, CSI, and HSS) statistical approaches. Overall, 3B42V7 and APHRODITE performed the best, while the worst performance was shown by GPCP-1DD. 3B42RT, 3B42V7, and PERSIANN-CDR slightly overestimated observed precipitation by 2%, 4.7%, and 2.1%, respectively. By contrast, APHRODITE and CMORPH significantly underestimated precipitations by 19.7% and 13.2%, respectively, whereas GPCP-1DD only slightly underestimated by 2.8%. All six precipitation products performed better in the northeast monsoon than in the southwest monsoon. The better performances occurred in eastern and southern Peninsular Malaysia and in the north of East Malaysia, which receives higher rainfall during the northeast monsoon, whereas poor performances occurred in the western and dryer Peninsular Malaysia. All precipitation products underestimated the no/tiny (<1 mm/day) and extreme (≥20 mm/day) rainfall events, while they overestimated low (1–20 mm/day) rainfall events. 3B42RT and 3B42V7 showed the best ability to detect precipitation amounts with the highest HSS value (0.36). Precipitations during flood events such as those which occurred in late 2006 and early 2007 were estimated the best by 3B42RT and 3B42V7, as shown by an R2 value ranging from 0.49 to 0.88 and 0.52 to 0.86, respectively. These results on SPPs’ uncertainties and their potential controls might allow sensor and algorithm developers to deliver better products for improved rainfall estimation and thus improved water management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Validation of MODIS and GEOV1 fPAR Products in a Boreal Forest Site in Finland
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(2), 1359-1379; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70201359 - 27 Jan 2015
Cited by 16
Abstract
Remote sensing of the fraction of absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (fPAR) has become a timely option to monitor forest productivity. However, only a few studies have had ground reference fPAR datasets containing both forest canopy and understory fPAR from boreal forests for the [...] Read more.
Remote sensing of the fraction of absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (fPAR) has become a timely option to monitor forest productivity. However, only a few studies have had ground reference fPAR datasets containing both forest canopy and understory fPAR from boreal forests for the validation of satellite products. The aim of this paper was to assess the performance of two currently available satellite-based fPAR products: MODIS fPAR (MOD15A2, C5) and GEOV1 fPAR (g2_BIOPAR_FAPAR), as well as an NDVI-fPAR relationship applied to the MODIS surface reflectance product and a Landsat 8 image, in a boreal forest site in Finland. Our study area covered 16 km2 and field data were collected from 307 forest plots. For all plots, we obtained both forest canopy fPAR and understory fPAR. The ground reference total fPAR agreed better with GEOV1 fPAR than with MODIS fPAR, which showed much more temporal variation during the peak-season than GEOV1 fPAR. At the chosen intercomparison date in peak growing season, MODIS NDVI based fPAR estimates were similar to GEOV1 fPAR, and produced on average 0.01 fPAR units smaller fPAR estimates than ground reference total fPAR. MODIS fPAR and Landsat 8 NDVI based fPAR estimates were similar to forest canopy fPAR. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Optimal Sampling Design for Observing and Validating Long-Term Leaf Area Index with Temporal Variations in Spatial Heterogeneities
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(2), 1300-1319; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70201300 - 26 Jan 2015
Cited by 23
Abstract
A sampling strategy to define elementary sampling units (ESUs) for an entire site at the kilometer scale is an important step in the validation process for moderate-resolution leaf area index (LAI) products. Current LAI-sampling strategies are unable to consider the vegetation seasonal changes [...] Read more.
A sampling strategy to define elementary sampling units (ESUs) for an entire site at the kilometer scale is an important step in the validation process for moderate-resolution leaf area index (LAI) products. Current LAI-sampling strategies are unable to consider the vegetation seasonal changes and are better suited for single-day LAI product validation, whereas the increasingly used wireless sensor network for LAI measurement (LAINet) requires an optimal sampling strategy across both spatial and temporal scales. In this study, we developed an efficient and robust LAI Sampling strategy based on Multi-temporal Prior knowledge (SMP) for long-term, fixed-position LAI observations. The SMP approach employed multi-temporal vegetation index (VI) maps and the vegetation classification map as a priori knowledge. The SMP approach minimized the multi-temporal bias of the VI frequency histogram between the ESUs and the entire site and maximized the nearest-neighbor index to ensure that ESUs were dispersed in the geographical space. The SMP approach was compared with four sampling strategies including random sampling, systematic sampling, sampling based on the land-cover map and a sampling strategy based on vegetation index prior knowledge using the PROSAIL model-based simulation analysis in the Heihe River basin. The results indicate that the ESUs selected using the SMP method spread more evenly in both the multi-temporal feature space and geographical space over the vegetation cycle. By considering the temporal changes in heterogeneity, the average root-mean-square error (RMSE) of the LAI reference maps can be reduced from 0.12 to 0.05, and the relative error can be reduced from 6.1% to 2.2%. The SMP technique was applied to assign the LAINet ESU locations at the Huailai Remote Sensing Experimental Station in Beijing, China, from 4 July to 28 August 2013, to validate three MODIS C5 LAI products. The results suggest that the average R2, RMSE, bias and relative uncertainty for the three MODIS LAI products were 0.60, 0.33, −0.11, and 12.2%, respectively. The MCD15A2 product performed best, exhibiting a RMSE of 0.20, a bias of −0.07 and a relative uncertainty of 7.4%. Future efforts are needed to obtain more long-term validation datasets using the SMP approach on different vegetation types for validating moderate-resolution LAI products in time series. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Object-Based Crop Species Classification Based on the Combination of Airborne Hyperspectral Images and LiDAR Data
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(1), 922-950; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70100922 - 15 Jan 2015
Cited by 43
Abstract
Identification of crop species is an important issue in agricultural management. In recent years, many studies have explored this topic using multi-spectral and hyperspectral remote sensing data. In this study, we perform dedicated research to propose a framework for mapping crop species by [...] Read more.
Identification of crop species is an important issue in agricultural management. In recent years, many studies have explored this topic using multi-spectral and hyperspectral remote sensing data. In this study, we perform dedicated research to propose a framework for mapping crop species by combining hyperspectral and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data in an object-based image analysis (OBIA) paradigm. The aims of this work were the following: (i) to understand the performances of different spectral dimension-reduced features from hyperspectral data and their combination with LiDAR derived height information in image segmentation; (ii) to understand what classification accuracies of crop species can be achieved by combining hyperspectral and LiDAR data in an OBIA paradigm, especially in regions that have fragmented agricultural landscape and complicated crop planting structure; and (iii) to understand the contributions of the crop height that is derived from LiDAR data, as well as the geometric and textural features of image objects, to the crop species’ separabilities. The study region was an irrigated agricultural area in the central Heihe river basin, which is characterized by many crop species, complicated crop planting structures, and fragmented landscape. The airborne hyperspectral data acquired by the Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imager (CASI) with a 1 m spatial resolution and the Canopy Height Model (CHM) data derived from the LiDAR data acquired by the airborne Leica ALS70 LiDAR system were used for this study. The image segmentation accuracies of different feature combination schemes (very high-resolution imagery (VHR), VHR/CHM, and minimum noise fractional transformed data (MNF)/CHM) were evaluated and analyzed. The results showed that VHR/CHM outperformed the other two combination schemes with a segmentation accuracy of 84.8%. The object-based crop species classification results of different feature integrations indicated that incorporating the crop height information into the hyperspectral extracted features provided a substantial increase in the classification accuracy. The combination of MNF and CHM produced higher classification accuracy than the combination of VHR and CHM, and the solely MNF-based classification results. The textural and geometric features in the object-based classification could significantly improve the accuracy of the crop species classification. By using the proposed object-based classification framework, a crop species classification result with an overall accuracy of 90.33% and a kappa of 0.89 was achieved in our study area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Missing Passive Microwave Sensors on Multi-Satellite Precipitation Retrieval Algorithm
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(1), 668-683; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70100668 - 09 Jan 2015
Cited by 1
Abstract
The impact of one or two missing passive microwave (PMW) input sensors on the end product of multi-satellite precipitation products is an interesting but obscure issue for both algorithm developers and data users. On 28 January 2013, the Version-7 TRMM Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis [...] Read more.
The impact of one or two missing passive microwave (PMW) input sensors on the end product of multi-satellite precipitation products is an interesting but obscure issue for both algorithm developers and data users. On 28 January 2013, the Version-7 TRMM Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) products were reproduced and re-released by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center because the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-B (AMSU-B) and the Special Sensor Microwave Imager-Sounder-F16 (SSMIS-F16) input data were unintentionally disregarded in the prior retrieval. Thus, this study investigates the sensitivity of TMPA algorithm results to missing PMW sensors by intercomparing the “early” and “late” Version-7 TMPA real-time (TMPA-RT) precipitation estimates (i.e., without and with AMSU-B, SSMIS-F16 sensors) with an independent high-density gauge network of 200 tipping-bucket rain gauges over the Chinese Jinghe river basin (45,421 km2). The retrieval counts and retrieval frequency of various PMW and Infrared (IR) sensors incorporated into the TMPA system were also analyzed to identify and diagnose the impacts of sensor availability on the TMPA-RT retrieval accuracy. Results show that the incorporation of AMSU-B and SSMIS-F16 has substantially reduced systematic errors. The improvement exhibits rather strong seasonal and topographic dependencies. Our analyses suggest that one or two single PMW sensors might play a key role in affecting the end product of current combined microwave-infrared precipitation estimates. This finding supports algorithm developers’ current endeavor in spatiotemporally incorporating as many PMW sensors as possible in the multi-satellite precipitation retrieval system called Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for Global Precipitation Measurement mission (IMERG). This study also recommends users of satellite precipitation products to switch to the newest Version-7 TMPA datasets and the forthcoming IMERG products whenever they become available. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Retrieval of a Temporal High-Resolution Leaf Area Index (LAI) by Combining MODIS LAI and ASTER Reflectance Data
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(1), 195-210; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70100195 - 24 Dec 2014
Cited by 9
Abstract
This paper aims to retrieve temporal high-resolution LAI derived by fusing MOD15 products (1 km resolution), field-measured LAI and ASTER reflectance (15-m resolution). Though the inversion of a physically based canopy reflectance model using high-resolution satellite data can produce high-resolution LAI products, the [...] Read more.
This paper aims to retrieve temporal high-resolution LAI derived by fusing MOD15 products (1 km resolution), field-measured LAI and ASTER reflectance (15-m resolution). Though the inversion of a physically based canopy reflectance model using high-resolution satellite data can produce high-resolution LAI products, the obstacle to producing temporal products is obvious due to the low temporal resolution of high resolution satellite data. A feasible method is to combine different source data, taking advantage of the spatial and temporal resolution of different sensors. In this paper, a high-resolution LAI retrieval method was implemented using a dynamic Bayesian network (DBN) inversion framework. MODIS LAI data with higher temporal resolution were used to fit the temporal background information, which is then updated by new, higher resolution data, herein ASTER data. The interactions between the different resolution data were analyzed from a Bayesian perspective. The proposed method was evaluated using a dataset collected in the HiWater (Heihe Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research) experiment. The determination coefficient and RMSE between the estimated and measured LAI are 0.80 and 0.43, respectively. The research results suggest that even though the coarse-resolution background information differs from the high-resolution satellite observations, a satisfactory estimation result for the temporal high-resolution LAI can be produced using the accumulated information from both the new observations and background information. Full article
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Open AccessTechnical Note
Temporal Variability of Uncertainty in Pixel-Wise Soil Moisture: Implications for Satellite Validation
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(5), 5398-5415; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70505398 - 29 Apr 2015
Cited by 5
Abstract
In-situ soil moisture was widely used to validate and calibrate the satellite-retrieved data of different footprints. However, it contained unavoidable uncertainty when used as spatial representative. This paper examined the uncertainty in pixel-wise soil moisture designed for satellite validation in the HiWATER project. [...] Read more.
In-situ soil moisture was widely used to validate and calibrate the satellite-retrieved data of different footprints. However, it contained unavoidable uncertainty when used as spatial representative. This paper examined the uncertainty in pixel-wise soil moisture designed for satellite validation in the HiWATER project. Two in-situ data sets were used for the examination, which were carefully designed to capture the spatial heterogeneity of soil moisture at different scales. Our results indicated that the pixel-wise uncertainty increased with increasing extent. At a small area, the uncertainty referred to the natural spatial variability of in-situ soil moisture. With respect to a large area, sampling error of spatial soil moisture played an important role, particularly of dry condition. Temporally, the uncertainty was higher during rainfall than that after then. It suggested that in-situ soil moisture could be more spatially representative at a small area after rainfall, valuable for satellite validation. Uncertainty was correlated to soil moisture. It was strongly correlated to spatial mean at a small scale and was to the spatial pattern at a large scale. Results of this study offered some clues to examine the uncertainty of in-situ soil moisture for satellite validation. Full article
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Open AccessTechnical Note
A Prototype Network for Remote Sensing Validation in China
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(5), 5187-5202; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70505187 - 24 Apr 2015
Cited by 23
Abstract
Validation is an essential and important step before the application of remote sensing products. This paper introduces a prototype of the validation network for remote sensing products in China (VRPC). The VRPC aims to improve remote sensing products at a regional scale in [...] Read more.
Validation is an essential and important step before the application of remote sensing products. This paper introduces a prototype of the validation network for remote sensing products in China (VRPC). The VRPC aims to improve remote sensing products at a regional scale in China. These improvements will enhance the applicability of the key remote sensing products in understanding and interpretation of typical land surface processes in China. The framework of the VRPC is introduced first, including its four basic components. Then, the basic selection principles of the observation sites are described, and the principles for the validation of the remote sensing products are established. The VRPC will be realized in stages. In the first stage, four stations that have improved remote sensing observation facilities have been incorporated according to the selection principles. Certain core observation sites have been constructed at these stations. Next the Heihe Station is introduced in detail as an example. The three levels of observation (the research base, pixel-scale validation sites, and regional coverage) adopted by the Heihe Station are carefully explained. The pixel-scale validation sites with nested multi-scale observation systems in this station are the most unique feature, and these sites aim to solve some key scientific problems associated with remote sensing product validation (e.g., the scale effect and scale transformation). Multi-year of in situ measurements will ensure the high accuracy and inter-annual validity of the land products, which will provide dynamic regional monitoring and simulation capabilities in China. The observation sites of the VRPC are open, with the goal of increasing cooperation and exchange with global programs. Full article
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