Los, SO, North, PRJ, Grey, WMF, Barnsley, MJ (2005). A method to convert AVHRR Normalized Difference Vegetation Index time series to a standard viewing and illumination geometry. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 99(4), 400-411.
The bi-directional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) alters the seasonal and inter-annual variations exhibited in Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data and this hampers the detection and, consequently, the interpretation of temporal variations in land-surface vegetation. The magnitude and sign of bi-directional effects in commonly used AVHRR data sets depend on land-surface properties, atmospheric composition and the type of atmospheric correction that is applied to the data. We develop an approach to estimate BRDF effects in AVHRR NDVI time series using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) BRDF kernels and subsequently adjust NDVI time series to a standard illumination and viewing geometry. The approach is tested on NDVI time series that are simulated for representative AVHRR viewing and illumination geometry. These time series are simulated with a canopy radiative transfer model coupled to an atmospheric radiative transfer model for four different land cover types-tropical forest, boreal forest, temperate forest and grassland - and five different atmospheric conditions - turbid and clear top-of-atmosphere, turbid and clear top-of-atmosphere with a correction for ozone absorption and Rayleigh scattering applied (Pathfinder AVHRR Land data) and ground-observations (fully corrected for atmospheric effects). The simulations indicate that the timing of key phenological stages, such as start and end of growing season and time of maximum greenness, is affected by BRDF effects. Moreover, BRDF effects vary with latitude and season and increase over the time of operation of subsequent NOAA satellites because of orbital drift. Application of the MODIS kernels on simulated NVDI data results in a 50% to 85% reduction of BRDF effects. When applied to the global 18-year global Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) Pathfinder data we find BRDF effects similar in magnitude to those in the simulations. Our analysis of the global data shows that BRDF effects are especially large in high latitudes; here we find that in at least 20% of the data BRDF errors are too large for accurate detection of seasonal and interannual variability. These large BRDF errors tend to compensate, however, when averaged over latitude. (C) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.