Hyperspectral Vegetation Indices and Their Relationships with Agricultural Crop Characteristics
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Prasad Thenkabail, Ronald B Smith, Eddy De Pauw. (14/2/2001). Hyperspectral Vegetation Indices and Their Relationships with Agricultural Crop Characteristics. Remote Sensing of Environment, 71 (2), pp. 158-182.
The objective of this paper is to determine spectral bands that are best suited for characterizing agricultural crop biophysical variables. The data for this study comes from ground-level hyperspectral reflectance measurements of cotton, potato, soybeans, corn, and sunflower. Reflectance was measured in 490 discrete narrow bands between 350 and 1,050 nm. Observed crop characteristics included wet biomass, leaf area index, plant height, and (for cotton only) yield. Three types of hyperspectral predictors were tested: optimum multiple narrow band reflectance (OMNBR), narrow band normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) involving all possible two-band combinations of 490 channels, and the soil-adjusted vegetation indices. A critical problem with OMNBR models was that of “over fitting” (i.e., using more spectral channels than experimental samples to obtain a highly maximum R2 value). This problem was addressed by comparing the R2 values of crop variables with the R2 values computed for random data of a large sample size. The combinations of two to four narrow bands in OMNBR models explained most (64% to 92%) of the variability in crop biophysical variables. The second part of the paper describes a rigorous search procedure to identify the best narrow band NDVI predictors of crop biophysical variables. Special narrow band lambda (λ1) versus lambda (λ2) plots of R2 values illustrate the most effective wavelength combinations (λ1 and λ2) and bandwidths (Δλ1 and Δλ2) for predicting the biophysical quantities of each crop. The best of these two-band indices were further tested to see if soil adjustment or nonlinear fitting could improve their predictive accuracy. The best of the narrow band NDVI models explained 64% to 88% variability in different crop biophysical variables. A strong relationship with crop characteristics is located in specific narrow bands in the longer wavelength portion of the red (650 nm to 700 nm), with secondary clusters in the shorter wavelength portion of green (500 nm to 550 nm), in one particular section of the near-infrared (900 nm to 940 nm), and in the moisture sensitive near-infrared (centered at 982 nm). This study recommends a 12 narrow band sensor, in the 350 nm to 1,050 nm range of the spectrum, for optimum estimation of agricultural crop biophysical information.
- Agricultural Research Knowledge