Fisher, JI, Mustard, JF (2007). "Cross-scalar satellite phenology from ground, Landsat, and MODIS data". REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 109(3), 261-273.
Phenological records constructed from global mapping satellite platforms (e.g. AVHRR and MODIS) hold the potential to be valuable tools for monitoring vegetation response to global climate change. However, most satellite phenology products are not validated, and field checking coarse scale (>= 500 m) data with confidence is a difficult endeavor. In this research, we compare phenology from Landsat (field scale, 30 m) to MODIS (500 m), and compare datasets derived from each instrument. Landsat and MODIS yield similar estimates of the start of greenness (r(2) =0.60), although we find that a high degree of spatial phenological variability within coarser-scale MODIS pixels may be the cause of the remaining uncertainty. In addition, spatial variability is smoothed in MODIS, a potential source of error when comparing in situ or climate data to satellite phenology. We show that our method for deriving phenology from satellite data generates spatially coherent interannual phenology departures in MODIS data. We test these estimates from 2000 to 2005 against long-term records from Harvard Forest (Massachusetts) and Hubbard Brook (New Hampshire) Experimental Forests. MODIS successfully predicts 86% of the variance at Harvard forest and 70% of the variance at Hubbard Brook; the more extreme topography of the later is inferred to be a significant source of error. In both analyses, the satellite estimate is significantly dampened from the ground-based observations, suggesting systematic error (slopes of 0.56 and 0.63, respectively). The satellite data effectively estimates interannual phenology at two relatively simple deciduous forest sites and is internally consistent, even with changing spatial scale. We propose that continued analyses of interannual phenology will be an effective tool for monitoring native forest responses to global-scale climate variability. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.