The aim of this study was to test the potential of a constellation of remote sensing satellites, the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC), for retrieving a temporal record of forest leaf area index (LAI) in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Ground-based LAI measurements were made over a 12-month period in broadleaf woodland at Risley Moss Nature Reserve, Lancashire, U.K. The ground-based LAI varied between zero in January to a maximum of 4.5 in July. Nine DMC images, combining data from UK-DMC and NigeriaSat-1, were acquired, and all images were cross-calibrated and atmospherically corrected. The spectral reflectance of the test site was extracted, and a range of vegetation indices were then computed and correlated with the ground measurements of LAI. The soil adjusted vegetation index (SAVI) had the strongest correlation, and this was used to derive independent estimates of LAI using the "leave-one-out" method. The root mean square error of the LAI estimates was 0.47, which was close to that calculated for the ground-measured LAI. This study shows, for the first time, that data from a constellation of high temporal, medium spatial resolution optical satellite sensors may be used to map seasonal variation in woodland canopy leaf area index (LAI) in cloud-prone areas, like the U.K.
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