Land Cover Parameterization and Remote Sensing

Remote Sensing Parameterization of Land Cover

This work is focusing on the transformation of categorical land use information into quantitative land surface physical parameters. The parameters that will result from this analysis, and that will be inputs to the regional climate model, include surface albedo, fractional vegetative cover, leaf area index (both senescence and green) and above ground biomass. A nested scale analysis using current MODIS/ ASTER imagery with ETM+ imagery will better capture the land cover dynamics especially in semi-arid areas where vegetation signals are difficult to extract. The advantage of the nested scale approach is that the imagery data will provide improved parameters over large areas and the data are compatible to both field based observations and global circulation models. This method has been successfully applied elsewhere by a team member (J. Qi), and the data and information from East Africa will further validate this approach especially for semi-arid tropical areas. The method being applied here, of upscaling from land use/ cover to MODIS imagery, will provide informational benefits for global change scientists working in other areas of Africa and the tropics. The data and information on East Africa resulting from this activity will be extremely useful for scientists conducting global circulation modeling.


Qin, Chuan. 2011. Assessing Phenological Changes and Drivers in East Africa from 1982-2006. Masters of Science Thesis. Michigan State University Department of Geography.

Ge, J., Qi, J., Lofgren, B., Moore, N., Torbick, N., & Olson, J., (2006). Impacts of land use/cover classification accuracy on regional climate simulations, Journal of Geophysical Research, 112.

Ge, Jianjun 2007. Improving regional climate modeling in East Africa using remote sensing products. PhD Thesis. Michigan State University Department of Geography.

Moore, N., N. Torbick, B. Pijanowski, B. Lofgren, J. Wang, J. Andresen, D. Kim, and J. Olson. (2010). Adapting MODIS-derived LAI and fractional cover into the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) in East Africa. International Journal of Climatology. Vol. 30, Issue 13, 1954-1969.doi: 10.1002/joc.2011.

Torbick, N., Qi, J., Lusch, D., Olson, J., Moore, N., & Ge, J. (2006). Developing land use/land cover and parameterization for climate and land modeling in East Africa. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 27(19), 4227-4244.