Improving the Spatial Resolution of Land Surface Phenology by Fusing Medium- and Coarse-Resolution Inputs


Satellite-derived land surface phenology (LSP) serves as a valuable input source for many environmental applications such as land cover classifications and global change studies. Commonly, LSP is derived from coarse-resolution (CR) sensors due to their well-suited temporal resolution. However, LSP is increasingly demanded at medium resolution (MR), but inferring LSP directly from MR imagery remains a challenging task (e.g., due to acquisition frequency). As such, we present a methodology that directly predicts MR LSP on the basis of the respective CR LSP and MR reflectance imagery. The approach considers information from the local pixel neighborhood at both resolutions by utilizing several prediction proxies, including spectral distance and multiscale heterogeneity metrics. The prediction performs well with simulated data (R2=0.84), and the approach substantially reduces noise. The size of the smallest reliably predicted object coincides with the effective CR pixel size (i.e., field-of-view). Nevertheless, even subpixel objects can be reliably predicted provided that pure CR pixels are located within the search radius. The application to real MODIS LSP and Landsat reflectance well preserves the phenological landscape composition, and the spatial refinement is especially striking in heterogeneous agricultural areas, where, for example, the circular shape of center pivot irrigation schemes is successfully restored at MR.

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing