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Proceedings Paper

Normalized difference water index for remote sensing of vegetation liquid water from space
Author(s): Bo-Cai Gao
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Paper Abstract

The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), which is equal to (NIR- RED)/(NIR+RED), has been widely used for remote sensing of vegetation for many years. One weakness of this index is that the reflectance of RED channel has no sensitivity to changes in lead area index changes when the leaf area index is equal to 1 or greater due to strong chlorophyll absorption near 0.67 micron. In this paper, another index, namely the normalized difference water index (NDWI), is proposed for remote sensing of vegetation liquid water from space. NDWI is equal to [R(0.86 micrometers ) - R(1.24 micrometers )]/[R(0.86 micrometers ) + R(1.24 micrometers )], where R represents the apparent reflectance. At 0.86 micrometers and 1.24 micrometers , vegetation canopies have similar scattering properties, but slightly different liquid water absorption. The scattering by vegetation canopies enhances the weak liquid water absorption at 1.24 micrometers . As a result, NDWI is sensitive to changes in liquid water content of vegetation canopies. Spectral imaging data acquired with Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) over Jasper Ridge, California and Holland, Maine are used to demostrate the usefulness of NDWI. Comparisons between NDWI and NDVI images are also given. Because aerosol scattering effects in the 0.86-1.24 micrometers region are weak, NDWI is less sensitive to atmospheric effects that NDVI.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 June 1995
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 2480, Imaging Spectrometry, (12 June 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.210877
Show Author Affiliations
Bo-Cai Gao, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2480:
Imaging Spectrometry
Michael R. Descour; Jonathan Martin Mooney; David L. Perry; Luanna R. Illing, Editor(s)

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