Canadian Forest Service Publications

Generation of dense time series synthetic Landsat data through data blending with MODIS using a spatial and temporal adaptive reflectance fusion model. 2009. Hilker, T.; Wulder, M.A.; Coops, N.C.; Seitz, N.; White, J.C.; Gao, F.; Masek, J.G.; Stenhouse, G.B. Remote Sensing of Environment 113(9): 1988-1999.

Year: 2009

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 29982

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2009.05.011

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Landsat imagery with a 30 m spatial resolution is well suited for characterizing landscape-level forest structure and dynamics. While Landsat images have advantageous spatial and spectral characteristics for describing vegetation properties, the Landsat sensor's revisit rate, or the temporal resolution of the data, is 16 days. When considering that cloud cover may impact any given acquisition, this lengthy revisit rate often results in a dearth of imagery for a desired time interval (e.g., month, growing season, or year) especially for areas at higher latitudes with shorter growing seasons. In contrast, MODIS (MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) has a high temporal resolution, covering the Earth up to multiple times per day, and depending on the spectral characteristics of interest, MODIS data have spatial resolutions of 250 m, 500 m, and 1000 m. By combining Landsat and MODIS data, we are able to capitalize on the spatial detail of Landsat and the temporal regularity of MODIS acquisitions. In this research, we apply and demonstrate a data fusion approach (Spatial and Temporal Adaptive Reflectance Fusion Model, STARFM) at a mainly coniferous study area in central British Columbia, Canada. Reflectance data for selected MODIS channels, all of which were resampled to 500 m, and Landsat (at 30 m) were combined to produce 18 synthetic Landsat images encompassing the 2001 growing season (May to October). We compared, on a channel-by-channel basis, the surface reflectance values (stratified by broad land cover types) of four real Landsat images with the corresponding closest date of synthetic Landsat imagery, and found no significant difference between real (observed) and synthetic (predicted) reflectance values (mean difference in reflectance: mixed forest x¯ = 0.086, s = 0.088, broadleaf x¯ = 0.019, s = 0.079, coniferous x¯ = 0.039, s = 0.093). Similarly, a pixel based analysis shows that predicted and observed reflectance values for the four Landsat dates were closely related (mean r2 = 0.76 for the NIR band; r2 = 0.54 for the red band; p < 0.01). Investigating the trend in NDVI values in synthetic Landsat values over a growing season revealed that phenological patterns were well captured; however, when seasonal differences lead to a change in land cover (i.e., disturbance, snow cover), the algorithm used to generate the synthetic Landsat images was, as expected, less effective at predicting reflectance.