Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Published in Remote Sensing of Environment 99 (2005) 221 – 231.


The relationship between AVHRR-derived normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) values and those of future sensors is critical to continued long-term monitoring of land surface properties. The follow-on operational sensor to the AVHRR, the Visible/Infrared Imager/ Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), will be very similar to the NASA Earth Observing System’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor. NDVI data derived from visible and near-infrared data acquired by the MODIS (Terra and Aqua platforms) and AVHRR (NOAA-16 and NOAA-17) sensors were compared over the same time periods and a variety of land cover classes within the conterminous United States. The results indicate that the 16-day composite NDVI values are quite similar over the composite intervals of 2002 and 2003, and linear relationships exist between the NDVI values from the various sensors. The composite AVHRR NDVI data included water and cloud masks and adjustments for water vapor as did the MODIS NDVI data. When analyzed over a variety of land cover types and composite intervals, the AVHRR derived NDVI data were associated with 89% or more of the variation in the MODIS NDVI values. The results suggest that it may be possible to successfully reprocess historical AVHRR data sets to provide continuity of NDVI products through future sensor systems.