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TERN/36408a5f-0ab3-442f-a78e-822c8edaf07f 23006

Relative Spectral Mixture Analysis (RSMA) - MODIS, Australia coverage


RSMA measures change in the relative contributions of photosynthetic vegetation (PV, or GV green vegetation), non-photosynthetic vegetation (NPV) and soil reflectance compared to a baseline date. These spectral changes correspond to changes in fractional cover relative to the baseline date. Full details on the RSMA method are presented in Okin (2007). One of the key advantages of the RSMA, its insensitivity to changes in soil spectra, is a result of the fact that it does not require us to know the soil reflectance profile for a region. This strength is also the cause of a major weakness in RSMA. Since the measure is relative to a baseline date, and the absolute cover levels for every pixel are unknown at the baseline, the RSMA does not convey the absolute cover levels at any other point in time. However, if the absolute cover levels are known at any point in time, it is theoretically possible to convert the RSMA to absolute relative spectral mixture analysis (ARSMA).
As with all products derived from passive remote sensing imagery, this product represents the world as seen from above. Therefore, the cover recorded by this product represent what would be observed from a bird's-eye-view. Therefore, dense canopy may prevent observation of significant soil exposure.

It was demonstrated that the RSMA was a very good measure of change in relative fractional PV, NPV and soil cover, and that the ARSMA was a very good measure of change in absolute fractional PV, NPV and soil cover. Given that the RSMA is not a measure of absolute fraction, it should not be used for monitoring change in absolute soil exposure through time. However, the RSMA may be used for landscape phenology studies. Alternatively, the ARSMA is a measure of absolute fraction, and may therefore be used for landscape phenology studies, and for monitoring change in absolute soil exposure through time. However, the ARSMA is not ready for operational use yet, as it is still in development, and was produced as a proof of concept.

Temporal coverage

From 2000-02-18 To 2011-11-09


  • Date modified


Citation information

How to cite this collection:

Clarke, K., Lewis, M. (2022): Relative Spectral Mixture Analysis (RSMA) - MODIS, Australia coverage. Version 1.0.0. Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network. (Dataset).

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence

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