Global-scale analysis of vegetation indices for moderate resolution monitoring of terrestrial vegetation

Alfredo Huete, Kamel Didan, Willem van Leeuwen, Eric Vermote

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Vegetation indices have emerged as important tools in the seasonal and inter-annual monitoring of the Earth's vegetation. They are radiometric measures of the amount and condition of vegetation. In this study, the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-View sensor (SeaWiFS) is used to investigate coarse resolution monitoring of vegetation with multiple indices. A 30-day series of SeaWiFS data, corrected for molecular scattering and absorption, was composited to cloud-free, single channel reflectance images. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and an optimized index, the enhanced vegetation index (EVI), were computed over various `continental' regions. The EVI had a normal distribution of values over the continental set of biomes while the NDVI was skewed toward higher values and saturated over forested regions. The NDVI resembled the skewed distributions found in the red band while the EVI resembled the normal distributions found in the NIR band. The EVI minimized smoke contamination over extensive portions of the tropics. As a result, major biome types within continental regions were discriminable in both the EVI imagery and histograms, whereas smoke and saturation considerably degraded the NDVI histogram structure preventing reliable discrimination of biome types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-151
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1999
EventProceedings of the 1999 Remote Sensing for Earth Science, Ocean, and Sea Ice Applications - Florence, Italy
Duration: Sep 20 1999Sep 24 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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