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    Author(s): Karen Schleeweis; Samuel N. Goward; Chengquan Huang; John L. Dwyer; Jennifer L. Dungan; Mary A. Lindsey; Andrew Michaelis; Khaldoun Rishmawi; Jeffery G. Masek
    Date: 2016
    Source: International Journal of Digital Earth. 9(10): 963-980.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.0 MB)

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    Mapping Causes of Disturbance in U.S. Forests


    Using the NASA Earth Exchange platform, the North American Forest Dynamics (NAFD) project mapped forest history wall-to-wall, annually for the contiguous US (1986-2010) using the Vegetation Change Tracker algorithm. As with any effort to identify real changes in remotely sensed time-series, data gaps, shifts in seasonality, misregistration, inconsistent radiometry and cloud contamination can be sources of error. We discuss the NAFD image selection and processing stream (NISPS) that was designed to minimize these sources of error. The NISPS image quality assessments highlighted issues with the Landsat archive and metadata including inadequate georegistration, unreliability of the pre-2009 L5 cloud cover assessments algorithm, missing growing-season imagery and paucity of clear views. Assessment maps of Landsat 5-7 image quantities and qualities are presented that offer novel perspectives on the growing-season archive considered for this study. Over 150,000+ Landsat images were considered for the NAFD project. Optimally, one high quality cloud-free image in each year or a total of 12,152 images would be used. However, to accommodate data gaps and cloud/shadow contamination 23,338 images were needed. In 220 specific path-row image years no acceptable images were found resulting in data gaps in the annual national map products.

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    Schleeweis, Karen; Goward, Samuel N.; Huang, Chengquan; Dwyer, John L.; Dungan, Jennifer L.; Lindsey, Mary A.; Michaelis, Andrew; Rishmawi, Khaldoun; Masek, Jeffery G. 2016. Selection and quality assessment of Landsat data for the North American forest dynamics forest history maps of the US. International Journal of Digital Earth. 9(10): 963-980.


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    Landsat, forest cover change, time-series mapping, forest disturbance, North American forest dynamics, nasa earth exchange

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