Multisensor Comparisons and Validation of MODIS Vegetation Indices at the Semiarid Jornada Experimental Range

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Journal Article
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 2003, 41 (10), pp. 2368 - 2381
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Vegetation indices (VIs) are one of the standard science products available from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on the Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra platform, launched in December 1999. An important requirement of MODIS science products is that they be rigorously validated. In this study, we conducted a site-intensive MODIS VI product validation at the semiarid Jornada Experimental Range, New Mexico, an EOS Land Validation Core Site. Our validation approach involved scaling up independent fine-grained datasets, including ground and airborne radiometry, and high spatial resolution imagery [Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+)], to the coarser MODIS spatial resolutions. The MODIS VIs were evaluated with respect to their radiometric performances, the uncertainties of the compositing methodology, and their capabilities to depict seasonal variations in vegetation. The MODIS Quick Airborne Looks (MQUALS) radiometric package was found useful in up-scaling field in situ measurements to coarser spatial resolutions. Both single-day nadir-view and 16-day composited MODIS reflectances and VIs matched well with the nadir-based atmosphere-free MQUALS observations for all the land cover types found at Jornada, with the root mean squared deviations less than 0.03.
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