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Assessing the potential of VEGETATION sensor data for mapping snow and ice cover: a Normalized Difference Snow and Ice Index

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The VEGETATION (VGT) sensor in SPOT 4 has four spectral bands that are equivalent to Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) bands (blue, red, near-infrared and mid-infrared spectral bands) and provides daily images of the global land surface at a 1-km spatial resolution. We propose a new index for identifying and mapping of snow/ice cover, namely the Normalized Difference Snow/Ice Index (NDSII), which uses reflectance values of red and mid-infrared spectral bands of Landsat TM and VGT. For Landsat TM data, NDSII is calculated as NDSIITM=(TM3-TM5)/(TM3+TM5); for VGT data, NDSII is calculated as NDSIIVGT=(B2-MIR)/(B2+MIR). As a case study we used a Landsat TM image that covers the eastern part of the Qilian mountain range in the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibetan) plateau of China. NDSIITM gave similar estimates of the area and spatial distribution of snow/ice cover to the Normalized Difference Snow Index (NDSI=(TM2-TM5)/(TM2+TM5)) which has been proposed by Hall et al. The results indicated that the VGT sensor might have the potential for operational monitoring and mapping of snow/ice cover from regional to global scales, when using NDSIIVGT.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2001

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