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Monitoring of the Land Cover Changes in Iraq

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Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data is one of the longest records of global-scale medium spatial resolution earth observation data. The current methods for monitoring a large area of land cover change using spatial resolution imagery (100–1000 m) typically employs MODIS data. NDVI time series has proven to be a very active index for vegetation change dynamic monitoring over a long period. This chapter aims at capturing global vegetation change dynamics within 10-days MODIS-NDVI time series by considering the variations in April throughout the long-term observation period (2000–2017). Due to the scaling factor (10−4), the results of the derived NDVI MODIS values range from −10,000 to 10,000, and most of the pixels of vegetation cover have values greater than 2000. To calculate the change in the vegetation cover, we used eleven MODIS land cover maps for the period from 2003 to 2013 to monitor these changes. MODIS-NDVI scenes were used to detect the relationship between the NDVI values and both of the annual precipitation and the elevation. Croplands and annual precipitation seem to be correlated. It is a direct relationship between the accumulative annual precipitation amount and the croplands area, which attribute mainly to the irrigation type, where vast of croplands (wheat and barley in particular) are irrigated by rainfall. The NDVI values were quantified using the elevation values extracted from SRTM. An inverse relationship was observed for the NDVI values of the grasslands class and the elevation values, where the R2 were more than 0.7. Also; the analysis of elevation values may give some information on the NDVI values and the vegetation density.


  • NDVI
  • TRMM
  • Iraq
  • Change detection

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We thank NASA for providing MODIS and TRMM data, and we thank the USGS for providing the MODIS land cover (MCD12Q1). We are grateful to the Geological Survey of Iraq for providing the environmental reports and supporting the fieldwork.

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Correspondence to Arsalan Ahmed Othman .

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Othman, A.A., Shihab, A.T., Al-Maamar, A.F., Al-Saady, Y.I. (2020). Monitoring of the Land Cover Changes in Iraq. In: Al-Quraishi, A., Negm, A. (eds) Environmental Remote Sensing and GIS in Iraq. Springer Water. Springer, Cham.

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