Comparison between vegetation change analysis in Kenya based on AVHRR and SeaWiFS images

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An assessment of the suitability of the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) vegetation index to estimate land degradation in semi‐arid areas has been carried out, comparing its behaviour with that of vegetation indices based on Sea‐viewing Wide Field‐of‐view Sensor (SeaWiFS) images. Notwithstanding the importance of the classic Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) indicator, based on red–NIR channels, several studies have identified some limitations related to its use, such as its dependence on the atmospheric profile, saturation problems, non‐linearity in biophysical coupling with Leaf Area Index (LAI) and canopy background contamination. The relatively recent Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) overcomes these limits, using the information related to the blue channel and a soil adjustment factor. SeaWiFS data allow the computation of both vegetation indices. On the other hand, the NDVI based on AVHRR can be computed back in time to the 1980s, allowing a sufficient time span to obtain information on the desertification trend of the considered region (northern Kenya). In conclusion, taking advantage of both datasets, the accuracy of a change detection technique based on the classic NDVI has been confirmed as suitable for revealing any desertification trend.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centro di Ricerca Progetto San Marco (CRPSM), University of Rome ‘La Sapienza', Via Salaria 851, 00138 Rome, Italy

Publication date: June 20, 2005

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