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The CACAO Method for Smoothing, Gap Filling, and Characterizing Seasonal Anomalies in Satellite Time Series

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5 Author(s)

Consistent, continuous, and long time series of global biophysical variables derived from satellite data are required for global change research. A novel climatology fitting approach called CACAO (Consistent Adjustment of the Climatology to Actual Observations) is proposed to reduce noise and fill gaps in time series by scaling and shifting the seasonal climatological patterns to the actual observations. The shift and scale CACAO parameters adjusted for each season allow quantifying shifts in the timing of seasonal phenology and inter-annual variations in magnitude as compared to the average climatology. CACAO was assessed first over simulated daily Leaf Area Index (LAI) time series with varying fractions of missing data and noise. Then, performances were analyzed over actual satellite LAI products derived from AVHRR Long-Term Data Record for the 1981–2000 period over the BELMANIP2 globally representative sample of sites. Comparison with two widely used temporal filtering methods—the asymmetric Gaussian (AG) model and the Savitzky-Golay (SG) filter as implemented in TIMESAT—revealed that CACAO achieved better performances for smoothing AVHRR time series characterized by high level of noise and frequent missing observations. The resulting smoothed time series captures well the vegetation dynamics and shows no gaps as compared to the 50–60 % of still missing data after AG or SG reconstructions. Results of simulation experiments as well as confrontation with actual AVHRR time series indicate that the proposed CACAO method is more robust to noise and missing data than AG and SG methods for phenology extraction.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:51 ,  Issue: 4 )