Weber, M; Hao, DL; Asrar, GR; Zhou, YY; Li, XC; Chen, M (2020). Exploring the Use of DSCOVR/EPIC Satellite Observations to Monitor Vegetation Phenology. REMOTE SENSING, 12(15), 2384.

Vegetation phenology plays a pivotal role in regulating several ecological processes and has profound impacts on global carbon exchange. Large-scale vegetation phenology monitoring mostly relies on Low-Earth-Orbit satellite observations with low temporal resolutions, leaving gaps in data that are important for monitoring seasonal vegetation phenology. High temporal resolution satellite observations have the potential to fill this gap by frequently collecting observations on a global scale, making it easier to study change over time. This study explored the potential of using the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) onboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite, which captures images of the entire sunlit face of the Earth at a temporal resolution of once every 1-2 h, to observe vegetation phenology cycles in North America. We assessed the strengths and shortcomings of EPIC-based phenology information in comparison with the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+) onboard Landsat 7, and PhenoCam ground-based observations across six different plant functional types. Our results indicated that EPIC could capture and characterize seasonal changes of vegetation across different plant functional types and is particularly consistent in the estimated growing season length. Our results also provided new insights into the complementary features and benefits of the four datasets, which is valuable for improving our understanding of the complex response of vegetation to global climate variability and other disturbances and the impact of phenology changes on ecosystem productivity and global carbon exchange.