Summary Results from:

Interpretation of variations in MODIS-measured greenness levels of Amazon forests during 2000 to 2009
As they relate to the validation of MOD15

Authors: Samanta A., Ganguly, S., Vermote, E., Nemani, R.R., Myneni, R.B.

Source: Environ. Res. Lett. 7 024018

Link to: Access Publication


This work investigates variations in satellite-measured greenness of Amazon forests using ten years of NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) enhanced vegetation index (EVI) data. Corruption of optical remote sensing data with clouds and aerosols is prevalent in this region; filtering corrupted data causes spatial sampling constraints, as well as reducing the record length, which introduces large biases in estimates of greenness anomalies. The EVI data, analyzed in multiple ways and taking into account EVI accuracy, consistently show a pattern of negligible changes in the greenness levels of forests both in the area affected by drought in 2005 and outside it. Small random patches of anomalous greening and browning—especially prominent in 2009—appear in all ten years, irrespective of contemporaneous variations in precipitation, but with no persistence over time. The fact that over 90% of the EVI anomalies are insignificantly small—within the envelope of error (95% confidence interval) in EVI—warrants cautious interpretation of these results: there were no changes in the greenness of these forests, or if there were changes, the EVI data failed to capture these either because the constituent reflectances were saturated or the moderate resolution precluded viewing small-scale variations. This suggests a need for more accurate and spatially resolved synoptic views from satellite data and corroborating comprehensive ground sampling to understand the greenness dynamics of these forests.