MODIS vegetation index compositing approach: A prototype with AVHRR data

Wim J.D. Van Leeuwen, Alfredo R. Huete, Trevor W. Laing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


In this study, the 16-day MODIS (MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) vegetation index (VI) compositing algorithm and product were described, evaluated, and compared with the current AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Spectroradiometer) maximum value composite (MVC) approach. The MVC method selects the highest NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) over a certain time interval. The MODIS VI compositing algorithm emphasizes a global and operational view angle standardization approach: a reflectance-based BRDF (Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function) model, succeeded by a back-up MVC algorithm that includes a view angle constraint. A year's worth of daily global AVHRR data was used to prototype the MODIS vegetation index compositing algorithm. The composite scenarios were evaluated with respect to: 1) temporal evolution of the VI for different continents and vegetation types, 2) spatial continuity of the VI, 3) quality flags related to data integrity, cloud cover, and composite method, and 4) view angle distribution of the composited data. On a continental scale, the composited NDVI values from the MODIS algorithm were as much as 30% lower than the mostly, off-nadir NDVI results based on the MVC criterion. The temporal evolution of the NDVI values derived with the MODIS algorithm were similar to the NDVI values derived from the MVC algorithm. A simple BRDF model was adequate to produce nadir equivalent reflectance values from which the NDVI could be computed. Application of the BRDF and 'back-up' components in the MODIS algorithm were dependent on geographic location and season, for example, the BRDF interpolation was most frequently applied in arid and semiarid regions, and during the dry season over humid climate vegetation types. Examples of a MODIS-like global NDVI map and associated quality flags were displayed using a pseudo color bit mapping scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-280
Number of pages17
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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