Special Issue "Land Surface Phenology"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Jadu Dash Website E-Mail
Geography and Environmental Science, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Phone: +44(0)23 8059 2203
Interests: land surface phenology; Earth observation; biophysical variables; agriculture
Guest Editor
Dr. Matthew Jones Website E-Mail
Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group,The University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
Interests: satellite imagery; phenology; canopy evaporation; atmospheric carbon dioxide
Guest Editor
Dr. Victor F. Rodriguez-Galiano Website E-Mail
Department of Physical Geography and Regional Geographical Analysis. University of Seville, Spain
Interests: land surface phenology, phenology validation, machine learning, time-series

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Land surface phenology refers to the type of products that seek to quantify and summarize the dynamics of the vegetated land surface at temporal scales from annual to seasonal. A common example would be the nominal starting and ending dates for growing seasons, estimated from time series of the normalized difference vegetation index. Over the last decade, there has been significant advances in data availability, image analysis and processing techniques that resulted in accurate characterization of Land Surface Phenology (LSP), from local to global scales. LSP information from satellites is a key variable to demonstrate the response of terrestrial ecosystem to climatic and anthropogenic changes. Moreover, LSP information is increasingly used to distinguish vegetation type and measure crop productivity. The recent launch of new satellite sensors, such as the Sentinel series, can provide the opportunity for improved characterization of LSP and may develop applications that were not possible with available datasets. Despite this, its validation with ground measurements is still challenging due to miss-match in both spatial and temporal scales between the two measurements, distribution of ground measurements and spatial heterogeneity of vegetation types in a satellite sensor pixel.

In this Special Issue, we are inviting submission including, but not limited to,

  • Development of new or refined LSP products
  • Development and/or production of high resolution (~30 m) LSP products
  • Multi-sensor data integration for LSP estimation, particularly integration across optical-IR, microwave, and radar data.
  • Characterization of LSP at local to global scales to understand spatial temporal trends and their drivers.
  • Validation of LSP using range of in situ data, including observations, citizen science, and phenology cameras. 
  • Inter comparison of LSP from different sensors and products
  • Application of LSP information
  • LSP for identification of land use/land cover, changes in land use/land cover, and detection of invasive species.

Prof. Jadu Dash
Dr. Matthew Jones
Dr. Victor Rodriguez-Galiano
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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 1800 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.

Keywords

  • Land Surface Phenology
  • Phenometrics
  • Optical-infrared, microwave, radar
  • Phenology Validation
  • Data Integration
  • Vegetation Index

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
An Empirical Assessment of the MODIS Land Cover Dynamics and TIMESAT Land Surface Phenology Algorithms
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(19), 2201; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11192201 (registering DOI) - 20 Sep 2019
Abstract
Observations of vegetation phenology at regional-to-global scales provide important information regarding seasonal variation in the fluxes of energy, carbon, and water between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Numerous algorithms have been developed to estimate phenological transition dates using time series of remotely sensed [...] Read more.
Observations of vegetation phenology at regional-to-global scales provide important information regarding seasonal variation in the fluxes of energy, carbon, and water between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Numerous algorithms have been developed to estimate phenological transition dates using time series of remotely sensed spectral vegetation indices. A key challenge, however, is that different algorithms provide inconsistent results. This study provides a comprehensive comparison of start of season (SOS) and end of season (EOS) phenological transition dates estimated from 500 m MODIS data based on two widely used sources of such data: the TIMESAT program and the MODIS Global Land Cover Dynamics (MLCD) product. Specifically, we evaluate the impact of land cover class, criteria used to identify SOS and EOS, and fitting algorithm (local versus global) on the transition dates estimated from time series of MODIS enhanced vegetation index (EVI). Satellite-derived transition dates from each source are compared against each other and against SOS and EOS dates estimated from PhenoCams distributed across the Northeastern United States and Canada. Our results show that TIMESAT and MLCD SOS transition dates are generally highly correlated (r = 0.51-0.97), except in Central Canada where correlation coefficients are as low as 0.25. Relative to SOS, EOS comparison shows lower agreement and higher magnitude of deviations. SOS and EOS dates are impacted by noise arising from snow and cloud contamination, and there is low agreement among results from TIMESAT, the MLCD product, and PhenoCams in vegetation types with low seasonal EVI amplitude or with irregular EVI time series. In deciduous forests, SOS dates from the MLCD product and TIMESAT agree closely with SOS dates from PhenoCams, with correlations as high as 0.76. Overall, our results suggest that TIMESAT is well-suited for local-to-regional scale studies because of its ability to tune algorithm parameters, which makes it more flexible than the MLCD product. At large spatial scales, where local tuning is not feasible, the MLCD product provides a readily available data set based on a globally consistent approach that provides SOS and EOS dates that are comparable to results from TIMESAT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Landscape Heterogeneity and Spatial Resolution in Multi-Temporal In Situ and MODIS NDVI Data Proxies for Seasonal GPP Dynamics
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(14), 1656; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11141656 - 11 Jul 2019
Abstract
The objective of this paper was to evaluate the use of in situ normalized difference vegetation index (NDVIis) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer NDVI (NDVIMD) time series data as proxies for ecosystem gross primary productivity (GPP) to improve GPP [...] Read more.
The objective of this paper was to evaluate the use of in situ normalized difference vegetation index (NDVIis) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer NDVI (NDVIMD) time series data as proxies for ecosystem gross primary productivity (GPP) to improve GPP upscaling. We used GPP flux data from 21 global FLUXNET sites across main global biomes (forest, grassland, and cropland) and derived MODIS NDVI at contrasting spatial resolutions (between 0.5 × 0.5 km and 3.5 × 3.5 km) centered at flux tower location. The goodness of the relationship between NDVIis and NDVIMD varied across biomes, sites, and MODIS spatial resolutions. We found a strong relationship with a low variability across sites and within year variability in deciduous broadleaf forests and a poor correlation in evergreen forests. Best performances were obtained for the highest spatial resolution at 0.5 × 0.5 km). Both NDVIis and NDVIMD elicited roughly three weeks later the starting of the growing season compared to GPP data. Our results confirm that to improve the accuracy of upscaling in situ data of site GPP seasonal responses, in situ radiation measurement biomes should use larger field of view to sense an area, or more sensors should be placed in the flux footprint area to allow optimal match with satellite sensor pixel size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Geographic and Climatic Attributions of Autumn Land Surface Phenology Spatial Patterns in the Temperate Deciduous Broadleaf Forest of China
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(13), 1546; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11131546 - 28 Jun 2019
Abstract
Autumn vegetation phenology plays a critical role in identifying the end of the growing season and its response to climate change. Using the six vegetation indices retrieved from moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer data, we extracted an end date of the growing season (EOS) [...] Read more.
Autumn vegetation phenology plays a critical role in identifying the end of the growing season and its response to climate change. Using the six vegetation indices retrieved from moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer data, we extracted an end date of the growing season (EOS) in the temperate deciduous broadleaf forest (TDBF) area of China. Then, we validated EOS with the ground-observed leaf fall date (LF) of dominant tree species at 27 sites and selected the best vegetation index. Moreover, we analyzed the spatial pattern of EOS based on the best vegetation index and its dependency on geo-location indicators and seasonal temperature/precipitation. Results show that the plant senescence reflectance index-based EOS agrees most closely with LF. Multi-year averaged EOS display latitudinal, longitudinal and altitudinal gradients. The altitudinal sensitivity of EOS became weaker from 2000 to 2012. Temperature-based spatial phenology modeling indicated that a 1 K spatial shift in seasonal mean temperature can cause a spatial shift of 2.4–3.6 days in EOS. The models explain between 54% and 73% of the variance in the EOS timing. However, the influence of seasonal precipitation on spatial variations of EOS was much weaker. Thus, spatial temperature variation controls the spatial patterns of EOS in TDBF of China, and future temperature increase might lead to more uniform autumn phenology across elevations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Improved Spring Vegetation Phenology Calculation Method Using a Coupled Model and Anomalous Point Detection
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(12), 1432; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11121432 - 17 Jun 2019
Abstract
High temporal resolution remote sensing satellite data can be used to collect vegetation phenology observations over regional and global scales. Logistic and polynomial functions are the most widely used methods for fitting time series normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) derived from the Moderate [...] Read more.
High temporal resolution remote sensing satellite data can be used to collect vegetation phenology observations over regional and global scales. Logistic and polynomial functions are the most widely used methods for fitting time series normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Furthermore, the maximum in the curvature of the fitted curve is usually considered as the spring green-up date. However, the existing green-up date calculation methods have low accuracy for sparse vegetation. This paper proposes an improved green-up date calculation method using a coupled model and anomalous point detection (CMAPD). This model is based on a combination of logistic and polynomial functions, which is used to fit time series vegetation index. Anomalous values were identified using the nearest neighbor algorithm, and these values were corrected by the combination of growing degree-days (GDD) and land use type. Then, the trends and spatial patterns of green-up date was analyzed in the Sanjiangyuan area. The results show that the coupled model fit the time series data better than a single logistic or polynomial function. Besides, the anomalous point detection method properly controlled the green-up date within the local threshold, and could reflect green-up date more accurately. In addition, a weak statistically significant advance trend for average vegetation green-up date was observed from 2000 to 2016. However, in 10.4% of the study area, the the green-up date has significant advanced. Regression analysis showed that the green-up date is correlated to elevation: the green-up date is clearly later at higher elevations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Interaction of Seasonal Sun-Angle and Savanna Phenology Observed and Modelled using MODIS
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(12), 1398; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11121398 - 12 Jun 2019
Abstract
Remote sensing of phenology usually works at the regional and global scales, which imposes considerable variations in the solar zenith angle (SZA) across space and time. Variations in SZA alters the shape and profile of the surface reflectance and vegetation index (VI) time [...] Read more.
Remote sensing of phenology usually works at the regional and global scales, which imposes considerable variations in the solar zenith angle (SZA) across space and time. Variations in SZA alters the shape and profile of the surface reflectance and vegetation index (VI) time series, but this effect on remote-sensing-derived vegetation phenology has not been adequately evaluated. The objective of this study is to understand the behaviour of VIs response to SZA, and to further improve the interpretation of satellite observed vegetation dynamics, across space and time. In this study, the sensitivity of two widely used VIs—the normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the enhanced vegetation index (EVI)—to SZA was investigated at four northern Australian savanna sites, over a latitudinal distance of 9.8° (~1100 km). Complete time series of surface reflectances, as acquired with different SZA configurations, were simulated using Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) parameters provided by MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The sun-angle dependency of the four phenological transition dates were assessed. Results showed that while NDVI was very sensitive to SZA, such sensitivity was nearly absent for EVI. A negative correlation was also observed between NDVI sensitivity to SZA and vegetation cover, with sensitivity declining to the same level as EVI when vegetation cover was high. Different sun-angle configurations resulted in considerable variations in the shape and magnitude of the phenological profiles. The sensitivity of VIs to SZA was generally greater during the dry season (with only active trees present) than in the wet season (with both active trees and grasses), thus, the sun-angle effect on VIs was phenophase-dependent. The sun-angle effect on NDVI time series resulted in considerable differences in the phenological metrics across different sun-angle configurations. Across four sites, the sun-angle effect caused 15.5 days, 21.6 days, and 20.5 days differences in the start, peak, and the end of the growing season derived from NDVI time series, with seasonally varying SZA at local solar noon, as compared to those metrics derived from NDVI time series with fixed SZA. In comparison, those differences in the start, peak, and end of the growing season for EVI were significantly smaller, with only 4.8 days, 4.9 days, and 3 days, respectively. Our results suggest the potential importance of considering the seasonal SZA effect on VI time series prior to the retrieval of phenological metrics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Using Hidden Markov Models for Land Surface Phenology: An Evaluation Across a Range of Land Cover Types in Southeast Spain
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(5), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11050507 - 02 Mar 2019
Abstract
Land Surface Phenology (LSP) metrics are increasingly being used as indicators of climate change impacts in ecosystems. For this purpose, it is necessary to use methods that can be applied to large areas with different types of vegetation, including vulnerable semiarid ecosystems that [...] Read more.
Land Surface Phenology (LSP) metrics are increasingly being used as indicators of climate change impacts in ecosystems. For this purpose, it is necessary to use methods that can be applied to large areas with different types of vegetation, including vulnerable semiarid ecosystems that exhibit high spatial variability and low signal-to-noise ratio in seasonality. In this work, we evaluated the use of hidden Markov models (HMM) to extract phenological parameters from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). We analyzed NDVI time-series data for the period 2000–2018 across a range of land cover types in Southeast Spain, including rice croplands, shrublands, mixed pine forests, and semiarid steppes. Start of Season (SOS) and End of Season (EOS) metrics derived from HMM were compared with those obtained using well-established smoothing methods. When a clear and consistent seasonal variation was present, as was the case in the rice croplands, and when adjusting average curves, the smoothing methods performed as well as expected, with HMM providing consistent results. When spatial variability was high and seasonality was less clearly defined, as in the semiarid shrublands and steppe, the performance of the smoothing methods degraded. In these cases, the results from HMM were also less consistent, yet they were able to provide pixel-wise estimations of the metrics even when comparison methods did not. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Limitations and Challenges of MODIS-Derived Phenological Metrics Across Different Landscapes in Pan-Arctic Regions
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(11), 1784; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10111784 - 10 Nov 2018
Abstract
Recent efforts have been made to monitor the seasonal metrics of plant canopy variations globally from space, using optical remote sensing. However, phenological estimations based on vegetation indices (VIs) in high-latitude regions such as the pan-Arctic remain challenging and are rarely validated. Nevertheless, [...] Read more.
Recent efforts have been made to monitor the seasonal metrics of plant canopy variations globally from space, using optical remote sensing. However, phenological estimations based on vegetation indices (VIs) in high-latitude regions such as the pan-Arctic remain challenging and are rarely validated. Nevertheless, pan-Arctic ecosystems are vulnerable and also crucial in the context of climate change. We reported the limitations and challenges of using MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) measurements, a widely exploited set of satellite measurements, to estimate phenological transition dates in pan-Arctic regions. Four indices including normalized vegetation difference index (NDVI), enhanced vegetation index (EVI), phenology index (PI), plant phenological index (PPI) and a MODIS Land Cover Dynamics Product MCD12Q2, were evaluated and compared against eddy covariance (EC) estimates at 11 flux sites of 102 site-years during the period from 2000 to 2014. All the indices were influenced by snow cover and soil moisture during the transition dates. While relationships existed between VI-based and EC-estimated phenological transition dates, the R2 values were generally low (0.01–0.68). Among the VIs, PPI-estimated metrics showed an inter-annual pattern that was mostly closely related to the EC-based estimations. Thus, further studies are needed to develop region-specific indices to provide more reliable estimates of phenological transition dates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Crop Calendar Events and Phenology-Related Metrics at the Parcel Level by Object-Based Image Analysis (OBIA) of MODIS-NDVI Time-Series: A Case Study in Central California
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(11), 1745; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10111745 - 06 Nov 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Remote sensing technology allows monitoring the progress of vegetation and crop phenology in large regions. Seasonal vegetation trends are commonly estimated from high temporal resolution but coarse spatial resolution satellite imagery, e.g., from MODIS-NDVI (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer—Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) time-series, which [...] Read more.
Remote sensing technology allows monitoring the progress of vegetation and crop phenology in large regions. Seasonal vegetation trends are commonly estimated from high temporal resolution but coarse spatial resolution satellite imagery, e.g., from MODIS-NDVI (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer—Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) time-series, which has usually limited their application to scenarios with few land uses or crops covering areas larger than actual parcel sizes. As an alternative, this paper proposes a general and robust procedure to map crop phenology at the level of individual crop parcels, and validates its feasibility in a complex and diverse cropland area located in central California. A first calibration phase consisted of evaluating the three curve-fitting models implemented in the TIMESAT software (i.e., asymmetric Gaussian (AG), double logistic (DL), and adaptive Savitzky–Golay (SG) filtering) and reporting the model and its settings that best adjusted to the MODIS-NDVI profile of each crop studied. Next, based on the selected crop-specific models and with a crop map previously obtained from ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) multi-temporal images, the procedure mapped four crop calendar events (i.e., start, end, middle, and length of the season) and five phenology-related metrics (i.e., base, maximum, amplitude, derivatives, and integrals of the NDVI values) of the study region by object-based image analysis (OBIA) of the MODIS-NDVI time-series. To mitigate the impact of mixed pixels, the OBIA procedure was designed to automatically apply a restrictive criterion based on the coverage of MODIS-NDVI pixels in each crop parcel: (1) using only the MODIS-NDVI pixels that were placed 100% within each crop parcel (i.e., “pure” pixels); or (2) if no “pure” pixels exist in any crop parcel, using only pixels with coverage percentages greater than 50%, and in such cases, reporting the mixing percentage in the output file. The calibration phase showed that the performance of the SG filtering was superior in most crops, with the exception of rice, while the AG model was intermediate in all of the cases. Differences between the dates of the start and end of the season that were observed in 120 ground-truth fields and the ones estimated by the crop-specific models were in a range of 11 days (for the corn fields) and 22 days (for the vineyard fields) on average. The OBIA procedure was also validated in 240 independent parcels with “pure” MODIS-NDVI pixels, reporting 89% and 82% of accuracy when mapping the start and end of the season, respectively. Our results revealed different growth patterns of the studied crops, especially of the crop calendar events of herbaceous (i.e., corn, rice, sunflower, and tomato) and woody crops (i.e., almond, walnut, and vineyard), of the NDVI derivatives of rice and the other studied herbaceous crops, and of the NDVI integrals of vineyard and the other studied woody crops. The resulting maps and tables provide valuable geospatial information for every parcel over time with several applications in cropland management, irrigation scheduling, and ecosystem modeling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Linking Phenological Indices from Digital Cameras in Idaho and Montana to MODIS NDVI
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(10), 1612; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10101612 - 11 Oct 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Digital cameras can provide a consistent view of vegetation phenology at fine spatial and temporal scales that are impractical to collect manually and are currently unobtainable by satellite and most aerial based sensors. This study links greenness indices derived from digital images in [...] Read more.
Digital cameras can provide a consistent view of vegetation phenology at fine spatial and temporal scales that are impractical to collect manually and are currently unobtainable by satellite and most aerial based sensors. This study links greenness indices derived from digital images in a network of rangeland and forested sites in Montana and Idaho to 16-day normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Multiple digital cameras were placed along a transect at each site to increase the observational footprint and correlation with the coarser MODIS NDVI. Digital camera phenology indices were averaged across cameras on a site to derive phenological curves. The phenology curves, as well as green-up dates, and maximum growth dates, were highly correlated to the satellite derived MODIS composite NDVI 16-day data at homogeneous rangeland vegetation sites. Forested and mixed canopy sites had lower correlation and variable significance. This result suggests the use of MODIS NDVI in forested sites to evaluate understory phenology may not be suitable. This study demonstrates that data from digital camera networks with multiple cameras per site can be used to reliably estimate measures of vegetation phenology in rangelands and that those data are highly correlated to MODIS 16-day NDVI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Real-Time Monitoring of Crop Phenology in the Midwestern United States Using VIIRS Observations
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(10), 1540; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10101540 - 25 Sep 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Real-time monitoring of crop phenology is critical for assisting farmers managing crop growth and yield estimation. In this study, we presented an approach to monitor in real time crop phenology using timely available daily Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) observations and historical [...] Read more.
Real-time monitoring of crop phenology is critical for assisting farmers managing crop growth and yield estimation. In this study, we presented an approach to monitor in real time crop phenology using timely available daily Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) observations and historical Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) datasets in the Midwestern United States. MODIS data at a spatial resolution of 500 m from 2003 to 2012 were used to generate the climatology of vegetation phenology. By integrating climatological phenology and timely available VIIRS observations in 2014 and 2015, a set of temporal trajectories of crop growth development at a given time for each pixel were then simulated using a logistic model. The simulated temporal trajectories were used to identify spring green leaf development and predict the occurrences of greenup onset, mid-greenup phase, and maximum greenness onset using curvature change rate. Finally, the accuracy of real-time monitoring from VIIRS observations was evaluated by comparing with summary crop progress (CP) reports of ground observations from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The results suggest that real-time monitoring of crop phenology from VIIRS observations is a robust tool in tracing the crop progress across regional areas. In particular, the date of mid-greenup phase from VIIRS was significantly correlated to the planting dates reported in NASS CP for both corn and soybean with a consistent lag of 37 days and 27 days on average (p < 0.01), as well as the emergence dates in CP with a lag of 24 days and 16 days on average (p < 0.01), respectively. The real-time monitoring of maximum greenness onset from VIIRS was able to predict the corn silking dates with an advance of 9 days (p < 0.01) and the soybean blooming dates with a lag of 7 days on average (p < 0.01). These findings demonstrate the capability of VIIRS observations to effectively monitor temporal dynamics of crop progress in real time at a regional scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Using APAR to Predict Aboveground Plant Productivity in Semi-Arid Rangelands: Spatial and Temporal Relationships Differ
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(9), 1474; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10091474 - 14 Sep 2018
Abstract
Monitoring of aboveground net primary production (ANPP) is critical for effective management of rangeland ecosystems but is problematic due to the vast extent of rangelands globally, and the high costs of ground-based measurements. Remote sensing of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (APAR) can be [...] Read more.
Monitoring of aboveground net primary production (ANPP) is critical for effective management of rangeland ecosystems but is problematic due to the vast extent of rangelands globally, and the high costs of ground-based measurements. Remote sensing of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (APAR) can be used to predict ANPP, potentially offering an alternative means of quantifying ANPP at both high temporal and spatial resolution across broad spatial extents. The relationship between ANPP and APAR has often been quantified based on either spatial variation across a broad region or temporal variation at a location over time, but rarely both. Here we assess: (i) if the relationship between ANPP and APAR is consistent when evaluated across time and space; (ii) potential factors driving differences between temporal versus spatial models, and (iii) the magnitude of potential errors relating to space for time transformations in quantifying productivity. Using two complimentary ANPP datasets and remotely sensed data derived from MODIS and a Landsat/MODIS fusion data product, we find that slopes of spatial models are generally greater than slopes of temporal models. The abundance of plant species with different structural attributes, specifically the abundance of C4 shortgrasses with prostrate canopies versus taller, more productive C3 species with more vertically complex canopies, tended to vary more dramatically in space than over time. This difference in spatial versus temporal variation in these key plant functional groups appears to be the primary driver of differences in slopes among regression models. While the individual models revealed strong relationships between ANPP to APAR, the use of temporal models to predict variation in space (or vice versa) can increase error in remotely sensed predictions of ANPP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring Forest Phenology and Leaf Area Index with the Autonomous, Low-Cost Transmittance Sensor PASTiS-57
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1032; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071032 - 30 Jun 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Land Surface Phenology (LSP) and Leaf Area Index (LAI) are important variables that describe the photosynthetically active phase and capacity of vegetation. Both are derived on the global scale from optical satellite sensors and require robust validation based on in situ sensors at [...] Read more.
Land Surface Phenology (LSP) and Leaf Area Index (LAI) are important variables that describe the photosynthetically active phase and capacity of vegetation. Both are derived on the global scale from optical satellite sensors and require robust validation based on in situ sensors at high temporal resolution. This study assesses the PAI Autonomous System from Transmittance Sensors at 57° (PASTiS-57) instrument as a low-cost transmittance sensor for simultaneous monitoring of LSP and LAI in forest ecosystems. In a field experiment, spring leaf flush and autumn senescence in a Dutch beech forest were observed with PASTiS-57 and illumination independent, multi-temporal Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) measurements in five plots. Both time series agreed to less than a day in Start Of Season (SOS) and End Of Season (EOS). LAI magnitude was strongly correlated with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.98. PASTiS-57 summer and winter LAI were on average 0.41 m2m−2 and 1.43 m2m−2 lower than TLS. This can be explained by previously reported overestimation of TLS. Additionally, PASTiS-57 was implemented in the Discrete Anisotropic Radiative Transfer (DART) Radiative Transfer Model (RTM) model for sensitivity analysis. This confirmed the robustness of the retrieval with respect to non-structural canopy properties and illumination conditions. Generally, PASTiS-57 fulfilled the CEOS LPV requirement of 20% accuracy in LAI for a wide range of biochemical and illumination conditions for turbid medium canopies. However, canopy non-randomness in discrete tree models led to strong biases. Overall, PASTiS-57 demonstrated the potential of autonomous devices for monitoring of phenology and LAI at daily temporal resolution as required for validation of satellite products that can be derived from ESA Copernicus’ optical missions, Sentinel-2 and -3. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Phenology Estimated from Reflectance-Based Indices and Solar-Induced Chlorophyll Fluorescence (SIF) Observations in a Temperate Forest Using GPP-Based Phenology as the Standard
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(6), 932; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10060932 - 13 Jun 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
We assessed the performance of reflectance-based vegetation indices and solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) datasets with various spatial and temporal resolutions in monitoring the Gross Primary Production (GPP)-based phenology in a temperate deciduous forest. The reflectance-based indices include the green chromatic coordinate (GCC), field [...] Read more.
We assessed the performance of reflectance-based vegetation indices and solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) datasets with various spatial and temporal resolutions in monitoring the Gross Primary Production (GPP)-based phenology in a temperate deciduous forest. The reflectance-based indices include the green chromatic coordinate (GCC), field measured and satellite remotely sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI); and the SIF datasets include ground-based measurement and satellite-based products. We found that, if negative impacts due to coarse spatial and temporal resolutions are effectively reduced, all these data can serve as good indicators of phenological metrics for spring. However, the autumn phenological metrics derived from all reflectance-based datasets are later than the those derived from ground-based GPP estimates (flux sites). This is because the reflectance-based observations estimate phenology by tracking physiological properties including leaf area index (LAI) and leaf chlorophyll content (Chl), which does not reflect instantaneous changes in phenophase transitions, and thus the estimated fall phenological events may be later than GPP-based phenology. In contrast, we found that SIF has a good potential to track seasonal transition of photosynthetic activities in both spring and fall seasons. The advantage of SIF in estimating the GPP-based phenology lies in its inherent link to photosynthesis activities such that SIF can respond quickly to all factors regulating phenological events. Despite uncertainties in phenological metrics estimated from current spaceborne SIF observations due to their coarse spatial and temporal resolutions, dates in middle spring and autumn—the two most important metrics—can still be reasonably estimated from satellite SIF. Our study reveals that SIF provides a better way to monitor GPP-based phenological metrics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
The Response of Vegetation Phenology and Productivity to Drought in Semi-Arid Regions of Northern China
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(5), 727; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10050727 - 09 May 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
A major disturbance in nature, drought, has a significant impact on the vulnerability and resilience of semi-arid ecosystems by shifting phenology and productivity. However, due to the various disturbance mechanisms, phenology and primary productivity have remained largely ambiguous until now. This paper evaluated [...] Read more.
A major disturbance in nature, drought, has a significant impact on the vulnerability and resilience of semi-arid ecosystems by shifting phenology and productivity. However, due to the various disturbance mechanisms, phenology and primary productivity have remained largely ambiguous until now. This paper evaluated the spatio-temporal changes of phenology and productivity based on GIMMS NDVI3g time series data, and demonstrated the responses of vegetation phenology and productivity to drought disturbances with the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI) in semi-arid ecosystems of northern China. The results showed that (1): vegetation phenology exhibited dramatic spatial heterogeneity with different rates, mostly presented in the regions with high chances of land cover type variation. The delayed onset of growing season (SOS) and advanced end of growing season (EOS) occurred in Horqin Sandy Land and the eastern Ordos Plateau with a one to three days/decade (p < 0.05) rate and in the middle and east of Inner Mongolia with a two days/decade rate, respectively. Vegetation productivity presented a clear pattern: south increased and north decreased. (2) Spring drought delayed SOS in grassland, barren/sparsely vegetated land, and cropland, while autumn drought significantly advanced EOS in grassland and barren/sparsely vegetated lands. Annual drought reduced vegetation productivity and the sensitivity of productivity regarding drought disturbance was higher than that of phenology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
A Method for Robust Estimation of Vegetation Seasonality from Landsat and Sentinel-2 Time Series Data
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(4), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10040635 - 19 Apr 2018
Cited by 9
Abstract
Time series from Landsat and Sentinel-2 satellites have great potential for modeling vegetation seasonality. However, irregular time sampling and frequent data loss due to clouds, snow, and short growing seasons, makes this modeling a challenge. We describe a new method for modeling seasonal [...] Read more.
Time series from Landsat and Sentinel-2 satellites have great potential for modeling vegetation seasonality. However, irregular time sampling and frequent data loss due to clouds, snow, and short growing seasons, makes this modeling a challenge. We describe a new method for modeling seasonal vegetation index dynamics from satellite time series data. The method is based on box constrained separable least squares fits to logistic model functions combined with seasonal shape priors. To enable robust estimates, we extract a base level (i.e., the minimum dormant season value) from the frequency distribution of clear-sky vegetation index values. A seasonal shape prior is computed from several years of data, and in the final fits local parameters are box constrained. More specifically, if enough data values exist in a certain time period, the corresponding local parameters determining the shape of the model function over this period are relaxed and allowed to vary freely. If there are no observations in a period, the corresponding local parameters are locked to the parameters of the shape prior. The method is flexible enough to model interannual variations, yet robust enough when data are sparse. We test the method with Landsat, Sentinel-2, and MODIS data over a forested site in Sweden, demonstrating the feasibility and potential of the method for operational modeling of growing seasons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Climate and Spring Phenology Effects on Autumn Phenology in the Greater Khingan Mountains, Northeastern China
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(3), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10030449 - 13 Mar 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Vegetation phenology plays a key role in terrestrial ecosystem nutrient and carbon cycles and is sensitive to global climate change. Compared with spring phenology, which has been well studied, autumn phenology is still poorly understood. In this study, we estimated the date of [...] Read more.
Vegetation phenology plays a key role in terrestrial ecosystem nutrient and carbon cycles and is sensitive to global climate change. Compared with spring phenology, which has been well studied, autumn phenology is still poorly understood. In this study, we estimated the date of the end of the growing season (EOS) across the Greater Khingan Mountains, China, from 1982 to 2015 based on the Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) normalized difference vegetation index third-generation (NDVI3g) dataset. The temporal correlations between EOS and climatic factors (e.g., preseason temperature, preseason precipitation), as well as the correlation between autumn and spring phenology, were investigated using partial correlation analysis. Results showed that more than 94% of the pixels in the Greater Khingan Mountains exhibited a delayed EOS trend, with an average rate of 0.23 days/y. Increased preseason temperature resulted in earlier EOS in most of our study area, except for the semi-arid grassland region in the south, where preseason warming generally delayed EOS. Similarly, EOS in most of the mountain deciduous coniferous forest, forest grassland, and mountain grassland forest regions was earlier associated with increased preseason precipitation, but for the semi-arid grassland region, increased precipitation during the preseason mainly led to delayed EOS. However, the effect of preseason precipitation on EOS in most of the Greater Khingan Mountains was stronger than that of preseason temperature. In addition to the climatic effects on EOS, we also found an influence of spring phenology on EOS. An earlier SOS led to a delayed EOS in most of the study area, while in the southern of mountain deciduous coniferous forest region and northern of semi-arid grassland region, an earlier SOS was often followed by an earlier EOS. These findings suggest that both climatic factors and spring phenology should be incorporated into autumn phenology models in order to improve prediction accuracy under present and future climate change scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Determining the Start of the Growing Season from MODIS Data in the Indian Monsoon Region: Identifying Available Data in the Rainy Season and Modeling the Varied Vegetation Growth Trajectories
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(1), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10010122 - 18 Jan 2018
Cited by 3 | Correction
Abstract
In the Indian monsoon region, frequent cloud cover in the rainy season results in less valid satellite observations during the vegetation growth period, making it difficult to extract land surface phenology (LSP). Even worse, many valid but humid observations were misidentified as clouds [...] Read more.
In the Indian monsoon region, frequent cloud cover in the rainy season results in less valid satellite observations during the vegetation growth period, making it difficult to extract land surface phenology (LSP). Even worse, many valid but humid observations were misidentified as clouds in the MODIS cloud mask, causing severe gaps in the LSP product. Using a refined cloud detection approach to separate clear-sky and cloudy observations, this study found that potentially valid observations during the vegetation growth period could be identified. Furthermore, the varied vegetation growth trajectories cannot be well-fitted by a global curve-fitting approach, but can be modelled by using the locally adjusted cubic-spline capping approach, which performed well for any seasonal patterns. Applying this approach, the start of growing season (SOS) was determined with 9.18% of vegetation growth amplitude between the maximum and minimum NDVI to generate the SOS product (2000–2016). The valid percentage of this regional product largely increased from 29.30% to 69.76% compared with the MCD12Q2 product, and its reliability was approximate to that of deciduous broadleaf forest in North America and Europe. This product could serve as a basis for understanding the response of terrestrial ecosystems to the changing Indian monsoon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Diverse Responses of Vegetation Phenology to Climate Change in Different Grasslands in Inner Mongolia during 2000–2016
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10010017 - 22 Dec 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
Vegetation phenology in temperate grasslands is highly sensitive to climate change. However, it is still unclear how the timing of vegetation phenology events (especially for autumn phenology) is altered in response to climate change across different grassland types. In this study, we investigated [...] Read more.
Vegetation phenology in temperate grasslands is highly sensitive to climate change. However, it is still unclear how the timing of vegetation phenology events (especially for autumn phenology) is altered in response to climate change across different grassland types. In this study, we investigated variations of the growing season start (SOS) and end (EOS), derived from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data (2000–2016), for meadow steppe, typical steppe, and desert steppe in the Inner Mongolian grassland of Northern China. Using gridded climate data (2000–2015), we further analyzed correlations between SOS/EOS and pre-season average air temperature and total precipitation (defined as 90-day period prior to SOS/EOS, i.e., pre-SOS/EOS) in each grid. The results showed that both SOS and EOS occurred later in desert steppe (day of year (doy) 114 and 312) than in meadow steppe (doy 109 and 305) and typical steppe (doy 111 and 307); namely, desert steppe has a relatively late growing season than meadow steppe and typical steppe. For all three grasslands, SOS was mainly controlled by pre-SOS precipitation with the sensitivity being largest in desert steppe. EOS was closely connected with pre-EOS air temperature in meadow steppe and typical steppe, but more closely related to pre-EOS precipitation in desert steppe. During 2000–2015, SOS in typical steppe and desert steppe has significantly advanced by 2.2 days and 10.6 days due to a significant increase of pre-SOS precipitation. In addition, EOS of desert steppe has also significantly advanced by 6.8 days, likely as a result from the combined effects of elevated preseason temperature and precipitation. Our study highlights the diverse responses in the timing of spring and autumn phenology to preceding temperature and precipitation in different grassland types. Results from this study can help to guide grazing systems and to develop policy frameworks for grasslands protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance of Smoothing Methods for Reconstructing NDVI Time-Series and Estimating Vegetation Phenology from MODIS Data
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(12), 1271; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9121271 - 07 Dec 2017
Cited by 19
Abstract
Many time-series smoothing methods can be used for reducing noise and extracting plant phenological parameters from remotely-sensed data, but there is still no conclusive evidence in favor of one method over others. Here we use moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) derived normalized difference vegetation [...] Read more.
Many time-series smoothing methods can be used for reducing noise and extracting plant phenological parameters from remotely-sensed data, but there is still no conclusive evidence in favor of one method over others. Here we use moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) derived normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) to investigate five smoothing methods: Savitzky-Golay fitting (SG), locally weighted regression scatterplot smoothing (LO), spline smoothing (SP), asymmetric Gaussian function fitting (AG), and double logistic function fitting (DL). We use ground tower measured NDVI (10 sites) and gross primary productivity (GPP, 4 sites) to evaluate the smoothed satellite-derived NDVI time-series, and elevation data to evaluate phenology parameters derived from smoothed NDVI. The results indicate that all smoothing methods can reduce noise and improve signal quality, but that no single method always performs better than others. Overall, the local filtering methods (SG and LO) can generate very accurate results if smoothing parameters are optimally calibrated. If local calibration cannot be performed, cross validation is a way to automatically determine the smoothing parameter. However, this method may in some cases generate poor fits, and when calibration is not possible the function fitting methods (AG and DL) provide the most robust description of the seasonal dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Grassland Phenology Response to Drought in the Canadian Prairies
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(12), 1258; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9121258 - 04 Dec 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
Drought is a significant climatic disturbance in grasslands, yet the impact drought caused by global warming has on grassland phenology is still unclear. Our research investigates the long-term variability of grassland phenology in relation to drought in the Canadian prairies from 1982 to [...] Read more.
Drought is a significant climatic disturbance in grasslands, yet the impact drought caused by global warming has on grassland phenology is still unclear. Our research investigates the long-term variability of grassland phenology in relation to drought in the Canadian prairies from 1982 to 2014. Based on the start of growing season (SOG) and the end of growing season (EOG) derived from Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) NDVI3g datasets, we found that grasslands demonstrated complex phenology trends over our study period. We retrieved the drought conditions of the prairie ecozone at multiple time scales from the 1- to 12-month Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI). We evaluated the correlations between the detrended time series of phenological metrics and SPEIs through Pearson correlation analysis and identified the dominant drought where the maximum correlations were found for each ecozone and each phenological metric. The dominant drought over preceding months account for 14–33% and 26–44% of the year-to-year variability of SOG and EOG, respectively, and fewer water deficits would favor an earlier SOG and delayed EOG. The drought-induced shifts in SOG and EOG were determined based on the correlation between the dominant drought and the year-to-year variability using ordinary least square (OLS) method. Our research also quantifies the correlation between precipitation and the evolution of the dominant droughts and the drought-induced shifts in grassland phenology. Every millimeter (mm) increase in precipitation accumulated over the dominant periods would cause SOG to occur 0.06–0.21 days earlier, and EOG to occur 0.23–0.45 days later. Our research reveals a complex phenology response in relation to drought in the Canadian prairie grasslands and demonstrates that drought is a significant factor in the timing of both SOG and EOG. Thus, it is necessary to include drought-related climatic variables when predicting grassland phenology response to climate change and variability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Phenocams Bridge the Gap between Field and Satellite Observations in an Arid Grassland Ecosystem
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1071; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101071 - 21 Oct 2017
Cited by 18
Abstract
Near surface (i.e., camera) and satellite remote sensing metrics have become widely used indicators of plant growing seasons. While robust linkages have been established between field metrics and ecosystem exchange in many land cover types, assessment of how well remotely-derived season start and [...] Read more.
Near surface (i.e., camera) and satellite remote sensing metrics have become widely used indicators of plant growing seasons. While robust linkages have been established between field metrics and ecosystem exchange in many land cover types, assessment of how well remotely-derived season start and end dates depict field conditions in arid ecosystems remain unknown. We evaluated the correspondence between field measures of start (SOS; leaves unfolded and canopy greenness >0) and end of season (EOS) and canopy greenness for two widespread species in southwestern U.S. ecosystems with those metrics estimated from near-surface cameras and MODIS NDVI for five years (2012–2016). Using Timesat software to estimate SOS and EOS from the phenocam green chromatic coordinate (GCC) greenness index resulted in good agreement with ground observations for honey mesquite but not black grama. Despite differences in the detectability of SOS and EOS for the two species, GCC was significantly correlated with field estimates of canopy greenness for both species throughout the growing season. MODIS NDVI for this arid grassland site was driven by the black grama signal although a mesquite signal was discernable in average rainfall years. Our findings suggest phenocams could help meet myriad needs in natural resource management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Temporal Interpolation of Satellite-Derived Leaf Area Index Time Series by Introducing Spatial-Temporal Constraints for Heterogeneous Grasslands
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(9), 968; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9090968 - 19 Sep 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
Continuous satellite-derived leaf area index (LAI) time series are critical for modeling land surface process. In this study, we present an interpolation algorithm to predict the missing data in LAI time series for ecosystems with high within-ecosystem heterogeneity, particularly heterogeneous grasslands. The algorithm [...] Read more.
Continuous satellite-derived leaf area index (LAI) time series are critical for modeling land surface process. In this study, we present an interpolation algorithm to predict the missing data in LAI time series for ecosystems with high within-ecosystem heterogeneity, particularly heterogeneous grasslands. The algorithm is based on spatial-temporal constraints, i.e., the missing data in the LAI time series of a pixel are predicted by the phenological links with other pixels. To address the uncertainties in the construction and selection of reference curves in a heterogeneous landscape, the algorithm constructs a reference dataset for each missing data in the LAI time series from all pixels showing very strong linear phenological links with the target pixel within a region. We also use an iterative process to update the available spatial-temporal constraints. We tested the algorithm with an eight-day composite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) LAI product in the Songnen grasslands, Northeast China in 2010 and 2011. The validation dataset was generated based on high quality time series by artificially adding data gaps. The algorithm achieved high overall interpolation accuracies with high coefficient of determination R2 (>0.9) and low root mean square error (RMSE) (<0.2) in both dry (2010) and wet (2011) years. The algorithm showed advantages in predicting missing data for different seasons and proportions of missing data versus the algorithm that uses regional average LAI curve as a reference. These results suggest that the proposed algorithm could more effectively characterize spatial-temporal constraint information in heterogeneous grasslands for temporal interpolation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessCorrection
Correction: Shang, R.; Liu, R.; Xu, M.; Liu, Y.; Dash, J.; Ge, Q. Determining the Start of the Growing Season from MODIS Data in the Indian Monsoon Region: Identifying Available Data in the Rainy Season and Modeling the Varied Vegetation Growth Trajectories, Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 122
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(8), 939; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11080939 - 18 Apr 2019
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following corrections to this paper [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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