Traditional satellite-based mapping of vegetation vigor and amount is based on the way vegetation interacts with red and infrared light. Occasionally, however, those two signals are not enough. MODIS measures light reflected from Earth at a variety of wavelengths, and the Arizona researchers incorporate the additional information into their Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI). The EVI has increased sensitivity within very dense vegetation, and it has built-in corrections for several factors that can interfere with the satellite-based vegetation mapping, like smoke and background noise caused by light reflecting off soil. The bi-weekly and monthly vegetation index maps have wide usability by biologists, natural resources managers, and climate modelers. They can track naturally occurring fluctuations in vegetation, such as seasonal changes, as well as those that result from land use change, such as deforestation. The EVI can also monitor changes in vegetation resulting from climate change, such as expansion of deserts or extension of growing seasons.


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