Precise monitoring of agricultural crop biomass and yield quantities is critical for crop production management and prediction. The goal of this study was to compare hyperspectral narrowband (HNB) versus multispectral broadband (MBB) reflectance data in studying irrigated cropland characteristics of five leading world crops (cotton, wheat, maize, rice, and alfalfa) with the objectives of: 1. Modeling crop productivity, and 2. Discriminating crop types. HNB data were obtained from Hyperion hyperspectral imager and field ASD spectroradiometer, and MBB data were obtained from five broadband sensors: Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM +), Advanced Land Imager (ALI), Indian Remote Sensing (IRS), IKONOS, and QuickBird. A large collection of field spectral and biophysical variables were gathered for the 5 crops in Central Asia throughout the growing seasons of 2006 and 2007. Overall, the HNB and hyperspectral vegetation index (HVI) crop biophysical models explained about 25% greater variability when compared with corresponding MBB models. Typically, 3 to 7 HNBs, in multiple linear regression models of a given crop variable, explained more than 93% of variability in crop models. The evaluation of λ1 (400–2500 nm) versus λ2 (400–2500 nm) plots of various crop biophysical variables showed that the best two-band normalized difference HVIs involved HNBs centered at: (i) 742 nm and 1175 nm (HVI742-1175), (ii) 1296 nm and 1054 nm (HVI1296-1054), (iii) 1225 nm and 697 nm (HVI1225-697), and (iv) 702 nm and 1104 nm (HVI702-1104). Among the most frequently occurring HNBs in various crop biophysical models, 74% were located in the 1051–2331 nm spectral range, followed by 10% in the moisture sensitive 970 nm, 6% in the red and red-edge (630–752 nm), and the remaining 10% distributed between blue (400–500 nm), green (501–600 nm), and NIR (760–900 nm).
Discriminant models, used for discriminating 3 or 4 or 5 crop types, showed significantly higher accuracies when using HNBs (> 90%) over MBBs data (varied between 45 and 84%).
Finally, the study highlighted 29 HNBs of Hyperion that are optimal in the study of agricultural crops and potentially significant to the upcoming NASA HyspIRI mission. Determining optimal and redundant bands for a given application will help overcoming the Hughes' phenomenon (or curse of high dimensionality of data).
Additional publication details
Hyperspectral versus multispectral crop-productivity modeling and type discrimination for the HyspIRI mission