African Land-Cover Classification Using Satellite Data

Science  25 Jan 1985:
Vol. 227, Issue 4685, pp. 369-375
DOI: 10.1126/science.227.4685.369


Data from the advanced very-high-resolution radiometer sensor on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's operational series of meteorological satellites were used to classify land cover and monitor vegetation dynamics for Africa over a 19-month period. There was a correspondence between seasonal variations in the density and extent of green-leaf vegetation and the patterns of rainfall associated with the movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. Regional variations, such as the 1983 drought in the Sahel of westem Africa, were observed. Integration of the weekly satellite data with respect to time for a 12-month period produced a remotely sensed estimate of primary production based upon the density and duration of green-leaf biomass. Eight of the 21-day composited data sets covering an 11-month period were used to produce a general land-cover classification that corresponded well with those of existing maps.