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The use of temporal metrics for land cover change detection at coarse spatial scales

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Successful land cover change analysis requires selection of an appropriate set of variables for measuring and characterizing change. Coarse spatial resolution satellite sensors offer the advantage of frequent coverage of large areas and this facilitates the monitoring of surface processes. Fine spatial resolution satellite sensors provide reliable land cover information on a local basis. This work examines the ability of several temporal change metrics to detect land cover change in sub-Saharan Africa using remote sensing data collected at a coarse spatial resolution over 16 test sites for which fine spatial resolution data are available. We model change in the fine-resolution data as a function of the coarse spatial resolution metrics without regard to the type of change. Results indicate that coarse spatial resolution temporal metrics (i) relate in a statistically significant way to aggregate changes in land cover, (ii) relate more strongly to fine spatial resolution change metrics when including a measure of surface temperature instead of a vegetation index alone, and (iii) are most effective as land cover change indicators when various metrics are combined in multivariate models.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 15, 2000

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