Analysis of Dryland Forest Phenology using Fused Landsat and MODIS Satellite Imagery
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This dissertation investigated the practicality and expediency of applying remote sensing data fusion products to the analysis of dryland vegetation phenology. The objective of the first study was to verify the quality of the output products of the spatial and temporal adaptive reflectance fusion method (STARFM) over the dryland Arizona study site. Synthetic 30 m resolution images were generated from Landsat-5 Thematic Mapper (TM) data and a range of 500 m Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) surface reflectance datasets and assessed via correlation analysis with temporally coincident Landsat-5 imagery. The accuracy of the results (0.61 < R2 < 0.94) justified subsequent use of STARFM data in this environment, particularly when the imagery were generated from Nadir Bi-directional Reflectance Factor (BRDF)-Adjusted Reflectance (NBAR) MODIS datasets. The primary objective of the second study was to assess whether synthetic Landsat data could contribute meaningful information to the phenological analyses of a range of dryland vegetation classes. Start-of-season (SOS) and date of peak greenness phenology metrics were calculated for each STARFM and MODIS pixel on the basis of enhanced vegetation index (EVI) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) time series over a single growing season. The variability of each metric was calculated for all STARFM pixels within 500 m MODIS extents. Colorado Plateau Pinyon Juniper displayed high amounts of temporal and spatial variability that justified the use of STARFM data, while the benefit to the remaining classes depended on the specific vegetation index and phenology metric. The third study expanded the STARFM time series to five years (2005-2009) to examine the influence of site characteristics and climatic conditions on dryland ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest phenological patterns. The results showed that elevation and slope controlled the variability of peak timing across years, with lower elevations and shallower slopes linked to higher levels of variability. During drought conditions, the number of site variables that controlled the timing and variability of vegetation peak increased.
- Doctoral Dissertations