Chen, XX, Vierling, L, Deering, D (2005). A simple and effective radiometric correction method to improve landscape change detection across sensors and across time. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 98(1), 63-79.
Satellite data offer unrivaled utility in monitoring and quantifying large scale land cover change over time. Radiometric consistency among collocated multi-temporal imagery is difficult to maintain, however, due to variations in sensor characteristics, atmospheric conditions, solar angle, and sensor view angle that can obscure surface change detection. To detect accurate landscape change using multitemporal images, we developed a variation of the pseudoinvariant feature (PIF) normalization scheme: the temporally invariant cluster (TIC) method. Image data were acquired on June 9, 1990 (Landsat 4), June 20, 2000 (Landsat 7), and August 26, 2001 (Landsat 7) to analyze boreal forests near the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk using the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), enhanced vegetation index (EVI), and reduced simple ratio (RSR). The temporally invariant cluster (TIC) centers were identified via a point density map of collocated pixel VIs from the base image and the target image, and a normalization regression line was created to intersect all TIC centers. Target image VI values were then recalculated using the regression function so that these two images could be compared using the resulting common radiometric scale. We found that EVI was very indicative of vegetation structure because of its sensitivity to shadowing effects and could thus be used to separate conifer forests from deciduous forests and grass/crop lands. Conversely, because NDVI reduced the radiometric influence of shadow, it did not allow for distinctions among these vegetation types. After normalization, correlations of NDVI and EVI with forest leaf area index (LAI) field measurements combined for 2000 and 2001 were significantly improved; the r(2) values in these regressions rose from 0.49 to 0.69 and from 0.46 to 0.61, respectively. An EVI cancellation effect where EVI was positively related to understory greenness but negatively related to forest canopy coverage was evident across a post fire chrono sequence with normalized data. These findings indicate that the TIC method provides a simple, effective and repeatable method to create radiometrically comparable data sets for remote detection of landscape change. Compared to some previous relative radiometric normalization methods, this new method does not require high level programming and statistical skills, yet remains sensitive to landscape changes occurring over seasonal and inter-annual time scales. In addition, the TIC method maintains sensitivity to subtle changes in vegetation phenology and enables normalization even when invariant features are rare. While this normalization method allowed detection of a range of land use, land cover, and phenological/biophysical changes in the Siberian boreal forest region studied here, it is necessary to further examine images representing a wide variety of ecoregions to thoroughly evaluate the TIC method against other normalization schemes. (C) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.