On the terminology of the spectral vegetation index (NIR – SWIR)/(NIR + SWIR)

International Journal of Remote Sensing
By: , and 



The spectral vegetation index (ρNIR – ρSWIR)/(ρNIR + ρSWIR), where ρNIR and ρSWIR are the near-infrared (NIR) and shortwave-infrared (SWIR) reflectances, respectively, has been widely used to indicate vegetation moisture condition. This index has multiple names in the literature, including infrared index (II), normalized difference infrared index (NDII), normalized difference water index (NDWI), normalized difference moisture index (NDMI), land surface water index (LSWI), and normalized burn ratio (NBR), etc. After reviewing each term’s definition, associated sensors, and channel specifications, we found that the index consists of three variants, differing only in the SWIR region (1.2–1.3 µm, 1.55–1.75 µm, or 2.05–2.45 µm). Thus, three terms are sufficient to represent these three SWIR variants; other names are redundant and therefore unnecessary. Considering the spectral representativeness, the term’s popularity, and the “rule of priority” in scientific nomenclature, NDWI, NDII, and NBR, each corresponding to the three SWIR regions, are more preferable terms.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title On the terminology of the spectral vegetation index (NIR – SWIR)/(NIR + SWIR)
Series title International Journal of Remote Sensing
DOI 10.1080/01431161.2010.510811
Volume 32
Issue 21
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 9 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title International Journal of Remote Sensing
First page 6901
Last page 6909
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