, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 3–14

North American vegetation patterns observed with the NOAA-7 advanced very high resolution radiometer


  • Samuel N. Goward
    • Department of GeographyUniversity of Maryland
  • Compton J. Tucker
    • Earth Resources BranchNASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Dennis G. Dye
    • Department of GeographyUniversity of Maryland

DOI: 10.1007/BF00033449

Cite this article as:
Goward, S.N., Tucker, C.J. & Dye, D.G. Vegetatio (1985) 64: 3. doi:10.1007/BF00033449


Spectral vegetation index measurements derived from remotely sensed observations show great promise as a means to improve knowledge of land vegetation patterns. The daily, global observations acquired by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, a sensor on the current series of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorological satellites, may be particularly well suited for global studies of vegetation. Preliminary results from analysis of North American observations, extending from April to November 1982, show that the vegetation index patterns observed correspond to the known seasonality of North American natural and cultivated vegetation. Integration of the observations over the growing season produced measurements that are related to net primary productivity patterns of the major North American natural vegetation formations. Regions of intense cultivation were observed as anomalous areas in the integrated growing season measurements. These anomalies can be explained by contrasts between cultivation practices and natural vegetation phenology. Major new information on seasonality, annual extent and interannual variability of vegetation photosynthetic activity at continental and global scales can be derived from these satellite observations.


Continental-scale vegetation observationSpectral vegetation indexNOAA-7 Advanced Very High Resolution RadiometerSeasonalityIntegrated growing seasonNet primary productivity

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© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1985