Jones, MO; Kimball, JS; Jones, LA; McDonald, KC (2012). Satellite passive microwave detection of North America start of season. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 123, 324-333.
The start of season (SOS) phenological metric indicates the seasonal onset of vegetation activity, including canopy growth, photosynthesis and associated increases in land-atmosphere water, energy and carbon (CO2) exchanges influencing weather and climate variability. Satellite optical-infrared (IR) remote sensing is responsive to vegetation greenness and SOS, but measurement accuracy and global monitoring are constrained by atmosphere cloud/aerosol contamination and seasonal decreases in solar illumination for many areas. The vegetation optical depth (VOD) parameter from satellite passive microwave remote sensing provides an alternative means for global phenology monitoring that is sensitive to vegetation canopy biomass and water content, and insensitive to atmosphere and solar illumination constraints. A global VOD record from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E) was used to estimate North America SOS patterns and annual variability at the ecoregion scale. The SOS metrics were derived for a four year (2004-2007) record using TIMESAT and AMSR-E 10.7 GHz frequency VOD retrievals composited to 4-day median time series. The VOD SOS corresponded favorably with MODIS-for-NACP NDVI (0.73