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An in situ study of the effects of surface anisotropy on the remote sensing of burned savannah

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This Letter presents field‐based evidence of the perturbing effects of surface anisotropy on the remote sensing of burned savannah. The analysis is based on bidirectional spectral reflectance data collected at different solar illumination angles and convolved to Moderate‐resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) reflective bands. Results from a grass savannah site show that burning reduces the anisotropy of the surface compared to its pre‐burn state. In contrast, at a shrub savannah site, burning reduces or increases surface anisotropy. Spectral indices defined from 1.240  µ m and 2.130  µ m reflectance, and 1.640  µ m and 2.130  µ m reflectance, provided stronger diurnal separation between burned and unburned areas than individual reflectance bands but do not eliminate anisotropic effects. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) provides weak diurnal separation relative to these near‐ and mid‐infrared based indices. Implications of the findings are discussed for burned area mapping.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, 2181 LeFrak Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA 2: Flasse Consulting, 3 Sycamore Crescent, Maidstone, Kent ME16 0AG, England, UK

Publication date: 2005-11-10

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