Shahabfar, A; Eitzinger, J (2011). Agricultural drought monitoring in semi-arid and arid areas using MODIS data. JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE, 149, 403-414.
The performances of two remote sensing drought indices were evaluated at selected agricultural sites in different agro-climatic zones in Iran to detect the severity of drought phenomena related to temporal variation and different climatic conditions. The indices used were the perpendicular drought index (PDI) and the modified perpendicular drought index (MPDI), which are derived from moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite images (MOD13A3 V005). The correlations between these perpendicular indices and two other remote sensing indices in ten different agro-climatic zones of Iran from February 2000 to December 2005 were analysed. The additional indices evaluated were the enhanced vegetation index (EVI) and the vegetation condition index (VCI) along with five water balance parameters, including climatic water balance (CL), crop water balance (CR), monthly reference crop evapotranspiration (ET(0)), crop evapotranspiration (ET(c)) and required irrigation water (I). Winter wheat was selected as the reference crop because it is grown in the majority of climatic conditions in Iran. The results show that in several climatic regions, there is a statistically significant correlation between PDI and MPDI and the water balance parameters, indicating an acceptable performance in detecting crop drought stress conditions. In all zones except at the sites located in northwest and northeast of Iran, VCI and EVI are less correlated with the applied water balance indicators compared to PDI and MPDI. In a temporal analysis, PDI and MPDI showed a greater ability to detect CR conditions than VCI and EVI in the most drought-sensitive winter wheat-growing stages. Since Iran is characterized by arid or semi-arid climatic conditions and winter wheat is a major agricultural crop, a combination of both PDI and MPDI could be used as simple remote sensing-based tool to map drought conditions for crops in Iran and in other developing countries with similar climatic conditions.