EGU23-13458, updated on 26 Feb 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

VODCA v2: An updated long-term vegetation optical depth dataset for ecosystem monitoring 

Wouter Dorigo1, Ruxandra Zotta1, Robin van der Schalie2, Leander Moesinger1,3, and Richard de Jeu2
Wouter Dorigo et al.
  • 1TU Wien, Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation, Vienna, Austria (
  • 2Planet, Haarlem, The Netherlands
  • 3AWST GmbH, Vienna, Austria

Vegetation optical depth (VOD), derived from space-borne microwave radiometers, is a parameter that quantifies the attenuation of surface microwave emissions by the overlaying vegetation. VOD depends on several factors, such as the water content and density of the vegetation, and the specifications of the satellites and wavelengths used. VOD has been used in various applications such as phenology analysis, drought and biomass monitoring, and the estimation of the likelihood of fire occurrence, leaf moisture, and gross primary productivity. Most of these applications require consistent long-term measurements, while single sensor timeseries are typically too short.  

To bridge this gap, the global, long-term Vegetation Optical Depth Climate Archive (VODCA)[1] combines VOD retrievals from multiple passive microwave sensors spanning from 1987 to 2019, derived through the Land Parameter Retrieval Model (LPRM)[2]. VODCA harmonises these retrievals from various satellites and periods for differences in microwave frequencies, measurement incidence angles, orbit characteristics, radiometric quality, and spatial footprints. VODCA v1 provides separate VOD products in different spectral bands, namely the Ku-band (period 1987–2017), X-band (1997–2018), and C-band (2002–2018). Despite the relatively short time since its publication, VODCA v1 has already been taken up by many researchers and climate reports as an indicator of vegetation condition [3].  

Here, we introduce a new and improved version of the VODCA dataset. VODCA v2 includes a multi-frequency product called VODCA CXKu, obtained by merging the C-, X-, and Ku-band observations. This product, which spans over 30 years of observations (1987-2022), is suitable for canopy dynamics monitoring and, due to the merging process, exhibits less random error than the individual frequency datasets. VODCA v2 also includes an L-band product obtained by merging LPRM-derived VOD from SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) and SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) missions, covering the period 2010-2022. We explore the properties of the new products in comparison to independent vegetation datasets, and present new insights in ecosystem dynamics facilitated by VODCA. 

[1] Moesinger, L., Dorigo, W., de Jeu, R., van der Schalie, R., Scanlon, T., Teubner, I., and Forkel, M.: The global long-term microwave Vegetation Optical Depth Climate Archive (VODCA), Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 12, 177–196,, 2020. 

[2] Van der Schalie, R., de Jeu, R.A., Kerr, Y.H., Wigneron, J.P., Rodríguez-Fernández, N.J., Al-Yaari, A., Parinussa, R.M., Mecklenburg, S. and Drusch, M., 2017. The merging of radiative transfer based surface soil moisture data from SMOS and AMSR-E. Remote Sensing of Environment189, pp.180-193. 

[3] Dorigo, W. , Moesinger, L., van der Schalie, R., Zotta, R. M., Scanlon, T. and de Jeu, R. A. M. (2021), [State of the Climate in 2020] Long-term monitoring of vegetation state through passive microwave satellites. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 102(8), S110-S112. doi:10.1175/2021BAMSStateoftheClimate.1. 

How to cite: Dorigo, W., Zotta, R., van der Schalie, R., Moesinger, L., and de Jeu, R.: VODCA v2: An updated long-term vegetation optical depth dataset for ecosystem monitoring , EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-13458,, 2023.