Berger, KA; Wang, Y; Mather, TN (2013). MODIS-derived land surface moisture conditions for monitoring blacklegged tick habitat in southern New England. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, 34(1), 73-85.
Temperature and humidity have been identified as significant determinants of suitable blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) habitat. The temperature-vegetation dryness index (TVDI) uses remotely sensed observations of both temperature and vegetation cover to characterize moisture status on the ground. The TVDI has previously been applied to large studies of conservation, drought monitoring, and disease forecasting. In this study, we applied the TDVI model in an effort to characterize land surface conditions influencing tick habitat and human health risk in the southern New England region of the USA. Findings derived from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land surface temperature (LST) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data products in TDVI modelling and site-specific validations suggested that remotely sensed surface moisture conditions is one environmental parameter that could be useful in large-scale tick habitat monitoring.