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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Range Management Research

Title: Vegetation canopy structure from NASA EOS multiangle imaging

item Chopping, M
item Martonchik, J
item Bull, M
item Rango, Albert - Al
item Schaaf, C
item Zhao, F
item Want, Z

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/12/2008
Publication Date: 12/17/2008
Citation: Chopping, M., Martonchik, J.V., Bull, M., Rango, A., Schaaf, C.B., Zhao, F., Want, Z. 2008. Vegetation canopy structure from NASA EOS multiangle imaging. [abstract]. AGU 2008 Fall Meeting, December 15-19, 2008, San Francisco, California. B33D-04 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: We used red band bidirectional reflectance data from the NASA Multiangle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) and the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) mapped onto a 250 m grid in a multiangle approach to obtain estimates of woody plant fractional cover and crown height through adjustment of the mean radius and mean crown aspect ratio parameters of an hybrid geometric-optical (GO) model. We used a technique to rapidly obtain MISR surface reflectance estimates at 275 m resolution through regression on 1 km MISR land surface estimates previously corrected for atmospheric attenuation using MISR aerosol estimates. MISR data were used to make end of dry season maps from 2000-2007 for parts of southern New Mexico, while MODIS data were used to replicate previous results obtained using MISR for June 2002 over large parts of New Mexico and Arizona. We also examined the applicability of this method in Alaskan tundra and forest by adjusting the GO model against MISR data for winter (March 2000) and summer (August 2008) scenes. We found that the GO model crown aspect ratio from MISR followed dominant shrub species distributions in the USDA, ARS Jornada Experimental Range, enabling differentiation of the more spherical crowns of creosotebush (Larrea tridentata) from the more prolate crowns of honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa). The measurement limits determined from 2000-2007 maps for a large part of southern New Mexico are ~0.1 in fractional shrub crown cover and ~3 m in mean canopy height (results obtained using data acquired shortly after precipitation events that radically darkened and altered the structure and angular response of the background). Typical standard deviations over the period for 12 sites covering a range of cover types are on the order of 0.05 in crown cover and 2 m in mean canopy height. We found that the GO model can be inverted to retrieve reasonable distributions of canopy parameters in southwestern environments using MODIS V005 red band surface reflectance estimates at ~250 m spatial resolution accumulated over 16 day periods. The MODIS (N=895) and MISR (N=576) estimates of forest height and cover both showed agreement with USDA, Forest Service estimates, with MODIS mean absolute errors (MAE) of 0.09 and 8.4 m respectively; and MISR MAE of 0.10 and 2.2 m, respectively, noting that a sub-optimal background was used for the MODIS inversions. The MODIS and MISR MAE for estimates of aboveground woody biomass via regression against Forest Service estimates were both 10.1 Mg.ha-1. We found that red band MISR data for central Alaska can be used to obtain first-order estimates of forest cover and height using a snow-free summer scene and shrub cover using a winter scene with full snow cover. The GO model inversion results are often physically unrealistic but spatial distributions correspond to high resolution images and reflect the potential for the multiangle/GO method to retrieve meaningful information that is qualitatively different to that obtained using vegetation indices.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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