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Delbart, N, Kergoat, L, Le Toan, T, Lhermitte, J, Picard, G (2005). Determination of phenological dates in boreal regions using normalized difference water index. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 97(1), 26-38.

Monitoring and understanding plant phenology are important in the context of studies of terrestrial productivity and global change., Vegetation phenology, such as dates of onsets of greening up and leaf senescence, has been determined by remote sensing using mainly the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). In boreal regions, the results suffer from significant uncertainties because of the effect of snow on NDVI. In this paper, SPOT VEGETATION S10 data over Siberia have been analysed to define a more appropriate method. The analysis of time series of NDVI, normalized difference snow index (NDSI), and normalized difference water index (NDWI), together with an analysis of in situ phenological records in Siberia, shows that the vegetation phenology can be detected using NDWI, with small effect of snow. In spring, the date of onset of greening up is taken as the date at which NDWI starts increasing, since NDWI decreases with snowmelt and increases with greening up. In the fall, the date of onset of leaf coloring is taken as the date at which NDWI starts decreasing, since NDWI decreases with senescence and increases with snow accumulation. The results are compared to the results obtained using NDVI-based methods, taking in situ phenological records as the reference. NDWI gives better estimations of the start of greening up than NDVI (reduced RMSE, bias and dispersions, and higher correlation), whereas it does not improve the determination of the start of leaf coloring. A map of greening up dates in central Siberia obtained from NDWI is shown for year 2002 and the reliability of the method is discussed. (C) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.



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