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Improving the estimation of noise from NOAA AVHRR NDVI for Africa using geostatistics

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Abstract. The accuracy of NOAA AVHRR NDVI data can be poor because of interference from several sources, including cloud cover. A parameter of the variogram model can be used to estimate the contribution of noise from the total variation in an image. However, remotely sensed information over large areas incorporates non-stationary (regional) trend and directional effects, resulting in violation of the assumptions for noise estimation. These assumptions were investigated at five sites across Africa for a range of ecological environments over several seasons. An unsupervised spectral classification of multi-temporal NDVI data partially resolved the problem of non-stationarity. Quadratic polynomials removed the remaining regional trend and directional effects. Isotropic variograms were used to estimate the noise contributing variation to the image. Standardized estimates of noise ranged from a minimum of 18.5% in west Zambia to 68.2% in northern Congo. Cloud cover and atmospheric particulates (e.g. dust) explained some of the regional and seasonal variations in noise levels. Image artifacts were also thought to contribute noise to image variation. The magnitude of the noise levels and its temporal variation appears to seriously constrain the use of AVHRR NDVI data.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Physical Geography, Lund University, Sölvegatan 13, S-223 62, Lund, Sweden

Publication date: April 20, 2001

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