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Keywords:

  • phenology;
  • NDVI;
  • AVHRR;
  • MODIS;
  • Alaska

[1] This work evaluates whether continuity between Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is achievable for monitoring phenological changes in Alaska. This work also evaluates whether NDVI can detect changes in start of the growing season (SOS) in this region. Six quadratic regression models with NDVI as a function of accumulated growing degree days (AGDD) were developed from 2001 through 2004 AVHRR and MODIS NDVI data sets for urban, mixed, and forested land covers. Model parameters determined NDVI values for start of the observational period as well as peak and length of the growing season. NDVI values for start of the growing season were determined from the model equations and field observations of SOS made by GLOBE students and researchers at University of Alaska Fairbanks. AGDD was computed from daily air temperature. AVHRR and MODIS models were significantly different from one another with differences in the start of the observational season as well as start, peak, and length of the growing season. Furthermore, AGDD for SOS was significantly lower during the 1990s than the 1980s. NDVI values at SOS did not detect this change. There are limitations with using NDVI to monitor phenological changes in these regions because of snow, the large extent of conifers, and clouds, which restrict the composite period. In addition, differing processing and spectral characteristics restrict continuity between AVHRR and MODIS NDVI data sets.