Evaluation of satellite based indices for gross primary production estimates in a sparse savanna in the Sudan
Abstract. One of the more frequently applied methods for integrating controls on primary production through satellite data is the Light Use Efficiency (LUE) approach. Satellite indices such as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) and the Shortwave Infrared Water Stress Index (SIWSI) have previously shown promise as predictors of primary production in several different environments. In this study, we evaluate NDVI, EVI and SIWSI derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite sensor against in-situ measurements from central Sudan in order to asses their applicability in LUE-based primary production modeling within a water limited environment. Results show a strong correlation between vegetation indices and gross primary production (GPP), demonstrating the significance of vegetation indices for deriving information on primary production with relatively high accuracy at similar areas. Evaluation of SIWSI however, reveal that the fraction of vegetation apparently is to low for the index to provide accurate information on canopy water content, indicating that the use of SIWSI as a predictor of water stress in satellite data-driven primary production modeling in similar semi-arid ecosystems is limited.