Soil water content diachronic mapping: An FFT frequency analysis of a temperature–vegetation index

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Among the indirect estimation approaches of soil water content in the upper layer of the soil, the “triangle method” is one of the most common that relies on the simple relationship between the optical and thermal features sensed via Earth Observation. These features are controlled by water content at the surface and within the root zone but also by meteorological forcing including air temperature and humidity, as well as solar radiation. Night- and day-time MODIS composites of land-surface temperature (LST) allowed applying a version of the triangle method that takes into account the temporal admittance of the soil. In this study, it has been applied to a long time-series of pair images to analyze the seasonal influence of the meteorological forcing on a triangle method index (or temperature–vegetation index, TVX), as well as to discuss extra challenges of the diachronic approach including seasonality effects and the variability of environmental forcing. The Imera Meridionale basin (Sicily, Italy) has been chosen to analyze the method over a time-series of 12 years. The analysis reveals that, under these specific environmental and climatic conditions (strong seasonality and rainfall out of phase with vegetation growth), Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and LST pairs move circularly in time within the optical vs. thermal feature space. Concordantly, the boundaries of the triangle move during the seasons. Results showed a strong correlation between TVX and rainfall normalized amplitudes of the power spectra (r2 ~0.8) over the range of frequencies of the main harmonics.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine18
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2020

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