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LSTM-Based Prediction of Mediterranean Vegetation Dynamics Using NDVI Time-Series Data

Christos Vasilakos, George E. Tsekouras and Dimitris Kavroudakis ()
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Christos Vasilakos: Department of Geography, University of the Aegean, 81100 Mytilene, Greece
George E. Tsekouras: Department of Cultural Technology and Communications, University of the Aegean, 81100 Mytilene, Greece

Land, 2022, vol. 11, issue 6, 1-23

Abstract: Vegetation index time-series analysis of multitemporal satellite data is widely used to study vegetation dynamics in the present climate change era. This paper proposes a systematic methodology to predict the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) using time-series data extracted from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The key idea is to obtain accurate NDVI predictions by combining the merits of two effective computational intelligence techniques; namely, fuzzy clustering and long short-term memory (LSTM) neural networks under the framework of dynamic time warping (DTW) similarity measure. The study area is the Lesvos Island, located in the Aegean Sea, Greece, which is an insular environment in the Mediterranean coastal region. The algorithmic steps and the main contributions of the current work are described as follows. (1) A data reduction mechanism was applied to obtain a set of representative time series. (2) Since DTW is a similarity measure and not a distance, a multidimensional scaling approach was applied to transform the representative time series into points in a low-dimensional space, thus enabling the use of the Euclidean distance. (3) An efficient optimal fuzzy clustering scheme was implemented to obtain the optimal number of clusters that better described the underline distribution of the low-dimensional points. (4) The center of each cluster was mapped into time series, which were the mean of all representative time series that corresponded to the points belonging to that cluster. (5) Finally, the time series obtained in the last step were further processed in terms of LSTM neural networks. In particular, development and evaluation of the LSTM models was carried out considering a one-year period, i.e., 12 monthly time steps. The results indicate that the method identified unique time-series patterns of NDVI among different CORINE land-use/land-cover (LULC) types. The LSTM networks predicted the NDVI with root mean squared error (RMSE) ranging from 0.017 to 0.079. For the validation year of 2020, the difference between forecasted and actual NDVI was less than 0.1 in most of the study area. This study indicates that the synergy of the optimal fuzzy clustering based on DTW similarity of NDVI time-series data and the use of LSTM networks with clustered data can provide useful results for monitoring vegetation dynamics in fragmented Mediterranean ecosystems.

Keywords: remote sensing; NDVI; machine learning; LSTM; spatiotemporal forecasting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q15 Q2 Q24 Q28 Q5 R14 R52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Handle: RePEc:gam:jlands:v:11:y:2022:i:6:p:923-:d:840350