Ganguly, S, Friedl, MA, Tan, B, Zhang, XY, Verma, M (2010). Land surface phenology from MODIS: Characterization of the Collection 5 global land cover dynamics product. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 114(8), 1805-1816.
Information related to land surface phenology is important for a variety of applications. For example, phenology is widely used as a diagnostic of ecosystem response to global change. In addition, phenology influences seasonal scale fluxes of water, energy, and carbon between the land surface and atmosphere. Increasingly, the importance of phenology for studies of habitat and biodiversity is also being recognized. While many data sets related to plant phenology have been collected at specific sites or in networks focused on individual plants or plant species, remote sensing provides the only way to observe and monitor phenology over large scales and at regular intervals. The MODIS Global Land Cover Dynamics Product was developed to support investigations that require regional to global scale information related to spatio-temporal dynamics in land surface phenology. Here we describe the Collection 5 version of this product, which represents a substantial refinement relative to the Collection 4 product. This new version provides information related to land surface phenology at higher spatial resolution than Collection 4 (500-m vs. 1-km), and is based on 8-day instead of 16-day input data. The paper presents a brief overview of the algorithm, followed by an assessment of the product. To this end, we present (1) a comparison of results from Collection 5 versus Collection 4 for selected MODIS tiles that span a range of climate and ecological conditions, (2) a characterization of interannual variation in Collections 4 and 5 data for North America from 2001 to 2006, and (3) a comparison of Collection 5 results against ground observations for two forest sites in the northeastern United States. Results show that the Collection 5 product is qualitatively similar to Collection 4. However, Collection 5 has fewer missing values outside of regions with persistent cloud cover and atmospheric aerosols. Interannual variability in Collection 5 is consistent with expected ranges of variance suggesting that the algorithm is reliable and robust, except in the tropics where some systematic differences are observed. Finally, comparisons with ground data suggest that the algorithm is performing well, but that end of season metrics associated with vegetation senescence and dormancy have higher uncertainties than start of season metrics. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.