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Sensitivity studies of the moisture effects on MODIS SWIR reflectance and vegetation water indices

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The effects of soil moisture and leaf water content on canopy reflectance of MODIS shortwave infrared (SWIR) bands 5, 6, and 7 and water-related indices are studied quantitatively using the coupled soil-leaf-canopy reflectance model. Canopy spectra simulations under various input conditions show that soil moisture has a large effect on each SWIR reflectance at low leaf area index (LAI) values, among which band 5 is the most sensitive to soil moisture variations, while band 7 responds strongest to dry soil conditions. Band 5 is also better suited to measure leaf water content change, since it obtains a higher variation when leaf water content changes from dry to wet. In general, each SWIR band responds to soil moisture and leaf water content differently. By using the normalized calculation between the water absorption-sensitive band and insensitive band, the Normalized Difference Water Index shows the most capability to remove the soil background effect and enhance the sensitivity to leaf water content. These two moisture variables may be separated by combining multiple rather than one SWIR band with a near-infrared band considering that each SWIR band has a different response to soil moisture and leaf water content.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: EastFIRE Lab, College of Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA 2: China Water International Engineering Consulting Co., Ltd, Ministry of Water Resources, Jiye Tower, Beijing 100053, PR China

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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