John Kerekes


The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) has been an important data product of the AVHRR series of instruments that have flown on the NOAA polar orbiting satellites. This index has been extensively used to monitor global vegetation and to study deforestation. As planning begins for follow-on versions, a proposal has been made to improve the robustness of the index by narrowing the spectral bands that are used in the NDVI calculation to reduce sensitivity to atmospheric water vapor. Without dramatic improvements in instrument design, this narrowing will also degrade the instrument's signal-to-noise ratio. In this paper, results are presented of an investigation into the sensitivity of the NDVI to water vapor as a function of the width of the spectral bands. Consideration was also given to the increase in instrument noise. This study concluded that spectral bandwidths of around 50 nanometers centered on two water vapor transmittance windows provide sufficient insensitivity to water vapor without significantly degrading the instrument's noise performance. However, it should be noted that changing the bandwidths from the current AVHRR will complicate the use of the index for long term environmental studies by changing the values obtained for similar scenes

Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit



Proceedings of IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (1994) 1506-1508 "NDVI sensitivity to atmospheric water vapor as a function of spectral bandwidth," Proceedings of the IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Held in Pasadena, California: 8-12 August 1994. ©1994 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE. This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. This work was sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under Air Force Contract F19628-90-C-0002. ISBN: 078-03-1497-2Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


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