State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2007AL62B
Title: Estimating Regional and Local Scale Surface Moisture as an Indicator of Drought Using Thermal IR Remote Sensing
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2007
End Date: 2/29/2008
Congressional District: Third
Focus Categories: Hydrology, Climatological Processes
Keywords: Drought, Moisture, Remote Sensing, MODIS, Maps, Southeast
Principal Investigator: Marzen, Luke J.
Federal Funds: $ 15,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 30,894
Abstract: Conventioanl measures of estimating drought are calculated from weather station data and thus are limited to relatively few point observations. Remote sensing can provide observations where few previously existed with point data. Currently the most commonly used method to assess drought conditions using satellite imagery is through the use of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). In 2004, our research group had a project funded by this program to investigate the relationship between NDVI and Thermal IR derived Land Surface Temperature (LST) as previous studies indicated that the relationship between the NDVI and LST may provide a better method to effectively assess moisture conditions at the regional scale. The results from that study confirmed that the ratio of NDVI/LST did perform substantially better than NDVI. Even more promising was that LST itself performed better than the ration betwee NDVI and LST when compared to traditional ground based measures.

This proposed research will continue the monitoring and evaluation by looking at the 2003-2007 data in the southeast and also a 2000-2007 comparison in a semi-arid western US study area. The proposed study will also investigate satellite observations of surface moisture at different scales. Our regional scale MODIS satellite observations and analysis will be continued but we will also look at more localized imagery with Landsat TM derived LST from the thermal bands at a 30m pixel spatial resolution.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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