A comparative analysis of phenological curves for major crops in Kansas

Iwake Masialeti, Stephen Egbert, Brian Wardlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The goal of this research was to conduct an initial investigation into whether a time-series NDVI reference curve library for crops over a growing season for one year could be used to map crops for a different year. Time-series NDVI libraries of curves for 2001 and 2005 were investigated to ascertain whether or not the 2001 dataset could be used to map crops for 2005. The 2005 16-day composite MODIS 250 m NDVI data were used to extract NDVI values from 1,615 field sites representing alfalfa, corn, sorghum, soybeans, and winter wheat. A k-means cluster analysis of NDVI values from the field sites was performed to identify validation sites with time-series NDVI spectral profiles characteristic of the major crop types grown in Kansas. After completing the field site refinement process, there were 1,254 field sites retained for further analysis, referred to as "final" field sites. The methods employed to evaluate whether the MODIS-based NDVI profiles for major crops in Kansas are stable from year-to-year involved both graphical and statistical analyses. First, the time-series NDVI values for 2005 from the final field sites were aggregated by crop type and the crop NDVI profiles were then visually assessed and compared to the profiles of 2001 to ascertain if each crop's unique phenological pattern was consistent between the two years. Second, separability within each crop class in the time-series NDVI data between 2001 and 2005 was investigated numerically using the Jeffries-Matusita (JM) distance statistic. The results seem to suggest that time-series NDVI response curves for crops over a growing period for one year of valid ground reference data may be useful for mapping crops for a different year when minor temporal shifts in the NDVI values (resulting from inter-annual climate variations or changes in agricultural management practices) are taken into account.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-259
Number of pages19
JournalGIScience and Remote Sensing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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