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Land Surface Water Index (LSWI) response to rainfall and NDVI using the MODIS Vegetation Index product

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For more than 20 years the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) has been widely used to monitor vegetation stress. It takes advantage of the differential reflection of green vegetation in the visible and near-infrared (NIR) portions of the spectrum and provides information on the vegetation condition. The Land Surface Water Index (LSWI) uses the shortwave infrared (SWIR) and the NIR regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. There is strong light absorption by liquid water in the SWIR, and the LSWI is known to be sensitive to the total amount of liquid water in vegetation and its soil background. In this study we investigated the LSWI characteristics relative to conventional NDVI-based drought assessment, particularly in the early crop season. The area chosen for the study was the state of Andhra Pradesh located in the Indian peninsular. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Vegetation Index (VI) product from the Aqua satellite was used in the study. The analysis was carried out for the years 2002 (deficit year) and 2005 (normal year) using the NDVI from the MODIS VI product and deriving the LSWI using the NIR and SWIR reflectance available with the MODIS VI product. The response of LSWI to rainfall, observed in the rate of increase in LSWI in the subsequent fortnights, shows that this index could be used to monitor the increase in soil and vegetation liquid water content, especially during the early part of the season. The relationship between the cumulative rainfall and the current fortnight LSWI is stronger in the low rainfall region (<500 mm), while the one-fortnight lagged LSWI had a stronger relationship in the high rainfall region (>500 mm). The relationship between LSWI and the cumulative rainfall for the entire state was mixed in 2002 and 2005. The strength of the relationship was weak in the high rainfall region. When LSWI was regressed directly with NDVI for three LSWI ranges, it was observed that the NDVI with the one-fortnight lag had a strong relationship with the LSWI in most of the categories.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Agriculture Division, Land Resources Group, National Remote Sensing Centre Indian Space Research Organisation, Balanagar, Hyderabad, India

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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