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Development of a global land cover characteristics database and IGBP DISCover from 1 km AVHRR data

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Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy produced a 1 km resolution global land cover characteristics database for use in a wide range of continental-to global-scale environmental studies. This database provides a unique view of the broad patterns of the biogeographical and ecoclimatic diversity of the global land surface, and presents a detailed interpretation of the extent of human development. The project was carried out as an International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, Data and Information Systems (IGBP-DIS) initiative. The IGBP DISCover global land cover product is an integral component of the global land cover database. DISCover includes 17 general land cover classes defined to meet the needs of IGBP core science projects. A formal accuracy assessment of the DISCover data layer will be completed in 1998. The 1 km global land cover database was developed through a continent-by-continent unsupervised classification of 1 km monthly Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) composites covering 1992-1993. Extensive post-classification stratification was necessary to resolve spectral/temporal confusion between disparate land cover types. The complete global database consists of 961 seasonal land cover regions that capture patterns of land cover, seasonality and relative primary productivity. The seasonal land cover regions were aggregated to produce seven separate land cover data sets used for global environmental modelling and assessment. The data sets include IGBP DISCover, U.S. Geological Survey Anderson System, Simple Biosphere Model, Simple Biosphere Model 2, Biosphere-Atmosphere Transfer Scheme, Olson Ecosystems and Running Global Remote Sensing Land Cover. The database also includes all digital sources that were used in the classification. The complete database can be sourced from the website:

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2000-04-15

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