AIMS Geosciences, 2017, 3(2): 163-186. doi: 10.3934/geosci.2017.2.163

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Combined Use of Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2A Images for Winter Crop Mapping and Winter Wheat Yield Assessment at Regional Scale

1 Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
2 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Code 619, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

Timely and accurate information on crop yield and production is critical to many applications within agriculture monitoring. Thanks to its coverage and temporal resolution, coarse spatial resolution satellite imagery has always been a source of valuable information for yield forecasting and assessment at national and regional scales. With availability of free images acquired by Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 remote sensing satellites, it becomes possible to provide temporal resolution of 3–5 days, and therefore, to develop next generation agriculture products at higher spatial resolution (10–30 m). This paper explores the combined use of Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2A for winter crop mapping and winter wheat yield assessment at regional scale. For the former, we adapt a previously developed approach for the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument at 250 m resolution that allows automatic mapping of winter crops taking into account a priori knowledge on crop calendar. For the latter, we use a generalized winter wheat yield forecasting model that is based on estimation of the peak Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) from MODIS image time-series, and further downscaled to be applicable at 30 m resolution. We show that integration of Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2A improves both winter crop mapping and winter wheat yield assessment. In particular, the error of winter wheat yield estimates can be reduced up to 1.8 times compared to using a single satellite.
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