Delbart, N, Le Toan, T, Kergoat, L, Fedotova, V (2006). Remote sensing of spring phenology in boreal regions: A free of snow-effect method using NOAA-AVHRR and SPOT-VGT data (1982-2004). REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 101(1), 52-62.

Measurements of spring phenological dates in boreal regions using NDVI can be affected by snowmelt. This impacts the analysis of interannual variations in phenology and the estimates of annual carbon fluxes. For these two objectives, snowmelt effect must be removed from the phenological detection. We propose a methodology for determining the date of onset of greening in the 1982-2004 period using SPOT-VEGETATION (VGT) and NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data. From 1998 onwards, the date of onset of greening is taken as the date at which the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), calculated from SPOT-VGT near and short-wave infrared bands, starts increasing. This index decreases with snowmelt but increases with vegetation greening. For the 1982-2001 period, the date of onset of greening is the date at which AVHRR-NDVI equals a pixel specific threshold (PST), determined using the results of the NDWI method in the years common to the two datasets. The methods are validated using in situ measurements of the dates of leaf appearance. RMSE of 6.7 and 7.8 days, respectively, is found using NDWI-VGT and PST-NOAA methodologies, and the difference between the two methodologies in the common years is small. Very importantly, the dates are not biased. The interannual variations of the 23-year spring phenology dataset on the study area in northern Eurasia are analysed. In average over the study area, an advance of 8 days and a delay of 3.6 days are, respectively, found over the periods 1982 - 1991 and 1993 -2004. These results confirm and complete previous studies about the greening trend, remove the uncertainty due to snow, and may improve carbon budget calculations. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.