Evaluating the relationship between Modis and AVHRR vegetation indices

Malherbe, Johan
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This report deals with the relationship between the NDVI obtained from the NOAA AVHRR sensor and that obtained from the MODIS sensor. The relationship is quantitatively assessed for distinct polygons over various land-cover types in the northeastern Kwa-Zulu Natal Province of South Africa. Spatial and temporal variations in the relationships are addressed and discussed with reference to spectral response, sunsensor- target geometries and atmospheric factors. Specifically, various methods are investigated to estimate a MODIS-equivalent NDVI from the AVHRR NDVI and in so doing create the potential to develop a self-consistent NDVI between the historically available AVHRR NDVI dataset and the relatively new MODIS NDVI dataset. NOAA-16 AVHRR NDVI data and AQUA MODIS NDVI data for the two-year period from January 2002 to December 2003 are used to develop the method. A linear relationship exists between the AVHRR and MODIS NDVI. However, spatial variations in the relationship in terms of land-cover and mean NDVI are pointed out. The potential of atmospheric corrections applied to AVHRR data through a radiative transfer atmospheric correction model to improve the relationship between the two NDVI datasets is also investigated. The importance of geo-location accuracy of the AVHRR NDVI dataset is assessed in the light of the accuracy obtainable with the proposed method to estimate a MODIS-equivalent NDVI from the AVHRR NDVI. A method to estimate the MODIS NDVI from the AVHRR NDVI that takes the mean AVHRR NDVI value into account, as opposed to a constant linear relationship over all the points, is proposed. Atmospheric correction is shown not to improve the accuracy of the method in a statistically significant way. The root-mean-square error of the proposed method is in the order of 0.05 NDVI units and varies between 0.5 and 2 standard deviations of the MODIS NDVI over an entire season.
Student Number : 0216831W - MSc research report - School of Environmental Sciences - Faculty of Science
MODIS, AVHRR, normalized difference vegetation index, NDVI, atmospheric correction