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Advances in estimation methods of vegetation water content based on optical remote sensing techniques

April 15, 2010

Quantitative estimation of vegetation water content (VWC) using optical remote sensing techniques is helpful in forest fire assessment, agricultural drought monitoring and crop yield estimation. This paper reviews the research advances of VWC retrieval using spectral reflectance, spectral water index and radiative transfer model (RTM) methods. It also evaluates the reliability of VWC estimation using spectral water index from the observation data and the RTM. Focusing on two main definitions of VWC—the fuel moisture content (FMC) and the equivalent water thickness (EWT), the retrieval accuracies of FMC and EWT using vegetation water indices are analyzed. Moreover, the measured information and the dataset are used to estimate VWC, the results show there are significant correlations among three kinds of vegetation water indices (i.e., WSI, NDII, NDWI1640, WI/NDVI) and canopy FMC of winter wheat (n=45). Finally, the future development directions of VWC detection based on optical remote sensing techniques are also summarized.

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