A change of canopy temperature can indicate stress in vegetation. Use of canopy temperature to assess salt stress in specific plant species has been well studied in laboratory and greenhouse experiments, but its potential for use in landscape-level studies using remote sensing techniques has not yet been explored. Our study investigated the application of satellite thermography to assess soil salinity of cropped areas at the landscape level. The study region was Syrdarya Province, a salt-affected, irrigated semi-arid province of Uzbekistan planted mainly to cotton and wheat. We used moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer satellite images as an indicator for canopy temperature and the provincial soil salinity map as a ground truth dataset. Using analysis of variance, we examined relations among the soil salinity map and canopy temperature, normalized difference vegetation index, enhanced vegetation index, and digital elevation model. The results showed significant correlations between soil salinity and canopy temperature, but the strength of the relation varied over the year. The strongest relation was observed for cotton in September. The calculated F values were higher for canopy temperature than for the other indicators investigated. Our results suggest that satellite thermography is a valuable landscape-level approach for detecting soil salinity in areas under agricultural crops.
Ivushkin, K., Bartholomeus, H., Bregt, A. K., & Pulatov, A. (2017). Satellite thermography for soil salinity assessment of cropped areas in Uzbekistan. Land Degradation and Development, 28(3), 870-877. https://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.2670