GEOG3890/ZOO4970: Remote Sensing and Phenology

Every Spring Semester

The study of changes in phenology, and in particular land surface phenology (LSP), provides an important approach to change detection in terrestrial ecosystems. Changes in land surface phenology (sometimes called “greenness”) have often been detected as trends in Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) products over time Increases in “greenness” are frequently interpreted as resulting from climate change, in particular warming. Vegetation phenology studies the relation between climate and the timing of biological events such as budburst, leaf-out, and plant flowering. Phenology varies by species and is influenced by many factors, such as soil temperature, air temperature, solar illumination, day length, and soil moisture, all of which can vary depending on location and time.

In this course we will focus on the analysis of land surface phenology. Land surface phenology (LSP) is the study of the spatio-temporal patterns in the vegetated land surface as observed by satellite sensors. Due to the coarse spatial resolution of satellite sensors, LSP deals with mixtures of land covers and thus is distinct from the traditional notion of a species-centric phenology. Land surface phenology metrics are primarily based on image time series of vegetation indices (VI) from optical sensors. The phenological metrics aim to retrieve onset of greening, senescence, timing of the maximum of the growing season, and growing season length based on analysis of the VI curve.

This course is split into a Remote Sensing oriented section and a phenology oriented section.