Canadian Forest Service Publications

Updating Landsat time series of surface-reflectance composites and forest change products with new observations. 2017. Hermosilla, T., Wulder, M.A., White, J.C., Coops, N.C., Hobart, G.W. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, Vol. 63, pp. 104–111.

Year: 2017

Available from: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 38874

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jag.2017.07.013

† This site may require a fee.

Abstract

The use of time series satellite data allows for the temporally dense, systematic, transparent, and synoptic capture of land dynamics over time. Subsequent to the opening of the Landsat archive, several time series approaches for characterizing landscape change have been developed, often representing a particular analytical time window. The information richness and widespread utility of these time series data have created a need to maintain the currency of time series information via the addition of new data, as it becomes available. When an existing time series is temporally extended, it is critical that previously generated change information remains consistent, thereby not altering reported change statistics or science outcomes based on that change information. In this research, we investigate the impacts and implications of adding additional years to an existing 29-year annual Landsat time series for forest change. To do so, we undertook a spatially explicit comparison of the 29 overlapping years of a time series representing 1984–2012, with a time series representing 1984–2016. Surface reflectance values, and presence, year, and type of change were compared. We found that the addition of years to extend the time series had minimal effect on the annual surface reflectance composites, with slight band-specific differences (r ≥ 0.1) in the final years of the original time series being updated. The area of stand replacing disturbances and determination of change year are virtually unchanged for the overlapping period between the two time-series products. Over the overlapping temporal period (1984–2012), the total area of change differs by 0.53%, equating to an annual difference in change area of 0.019%. Overall, the spatial and temporal agreement of the changes detected by both time series was 96%. Further, our findings suggest that the entire pre-existing historic time series does not need to be re-processed during the update process. Critically, given the time series change detection and update approach followed here, science outcomes or reports representing one temporal epoch can be considered stable and will not be altered when a time series is updated with newly available data.

Plain Language Summary

The use of time series satellite data allows for the temporally dense, systematic, transparent, and synoptic capture of land dynamics over time. Subsequent to the opening of the Landsat archive, several time series approaches for characterizing landscape change have been developed, often representing a particular analytical time window. The information richness and widespread utility of these time series data have created a need to maintain the currency of time series information via the addition of new data, as it becomes available. In this research, we investigate the impacts and implications of adding additional years to an existing 29-year annual Landsat time series for forest change. To do so, we compared a time series representing 1984 to 2012 with a time series representing 1984 to 2016. Impact of adding years to an existing Landsat time series was investigated. Additional years had minimal effect on annual proxy surface reflectance values. Area of stand replacing disturbance and change year were virtually unchanged. For overlapping period, total change area differed by 0.53% or 0.02% per year.Full time series does not require re-processing during the update process.

Date modified: