Evaluation of the consistency of Long-term NDVI time series derived from AVHRR, SPOT-vegetation, SeaWiFS, MODIS, and landsat ETM+ sensors

Molly E. Brown, Jorge E. Pinzón, Kamel Didan, Jeffrey T. Morisette, Compton J. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

308 Scopus citations


This paper evaluates the consistency of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) records derived from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), SPOT-Vegetation, SeaWiFS, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, and Landsat ETM+. We used independently derived NDVI from atmospherically corrected ETM+ data at 13 Earth Observation System Land Validation core sites, eight locations of drought, and globally aggregated one-degree data from the four coarse resolution sensors to assess the NDVI records agreement. The objectives of this paper are to: 1) compare the absolute and relative differences of the vegetation signal across these sensors from a user perspective, and, to a lesser degree, 2) evaluate the possibility of merging the AVHRR historical data record with that of the more modern sensors in order to provide historical perspective on current vegetation activities. The statistical and correlation analyses demonstrate that due to the similarity in their overall variance, it is not necessary to choose between the longer time series of AVHRR and the higher quality of the more modern sensors. The long-term AVHRR-NDVI record provides a critical historical perspective on vegetation activities necessary for global change research and, thus, should be the basis of an Intel-calibrated, sensor-independent NDVI data record. This paper suggests that continuity is achievable given the similarity between these datasets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1645279
Pages (from-to)1787-1793
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)
  • Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)
  • SPOT
  • Vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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