Vegetation Condition Index (VCI)

Vegetation Condition Index (VCI)


Index name: Vegetation Condition Index (VCI).

Ease of use: Green.

Origins: Developed from work done by Kogan with NOAA in the United States.

Characteristics: Using AVHRR thermal bands, VCI is used to identify drought situations and determine the onset, especially in areas where drought episodes are localized and ill defined. It focuses on the impact of drought on vegetation and can provide information on the onset, duration and severity of drought by noting vegetation changes and comparing them with historical values.

Input parameters: AVHRR satellite data.

Applications: Used in conjunction with NDVI and TCI for assessment of vegetation in drought situations affecting agriculture.

Strengths: High resolution and good spatial coverage.

Weaknesses: Potential for cloud contamination as well as a short period of record.

Resources: Methodology and calculations are provided in the literature and online products are available at the NOAA STAR – Global Vegetation Health Products webpage. Additional resources can be found at the Copernicus Global Land Service and the Flood and Drought portal developed by GEF, UN Environment, IWA and DHI.

Kogan, F.N., 1995: Application of vegetation index and brightness temperature for drought detection. Advances in Space Research, 15(11): 91–100. DOI: 10.1016/0273-1177(95)00079-T. (For more information on this paper, please contact the IDMP HelpDesk).

Liu, W.T. and F.N. Kogan, 1996: Monitoring regional drought using the Vegetation Condition Index. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 17(14): 2761–2782. DOI: 10.1080/01431169608949106. (For more information on this paper, please contact the IDMP HelpDesk).

Kogan, F.N. 1997: Global drought watch from space. Published Online: 1 April 1997. Bulletin of the American Meteorological SocietyDOI: 10.1175/1520-0477(1997)078<0621:GDWFS>2.0.CO;2.

Currently used by: Iran.

11 Responses

  1. Long term NDVI data is recommended for computation of the VCI. Can we compute VCI using three/four year NDVI data.

  2. can you kindly share the relationship between agricultural drought and vegetation condition index, Thanks

    1. Dear Vincent Ifeanyi Uche
      Agricultural drought is on of the so-called drought types, which have been established based on drought impacts. It refers to the impacts on agriculture by factors such as rainfall deficits, soil water deficits, reduced ground water, or reservoir levels needed for irrigation.
      The vegetation condition index (VCI) is an index derived from remotely sensed information. It compares the current Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to the range of values observed in the same period in previous years.
      Agricultural drought has most impacts of the drought located in the agriculture sector. Therefore crop growth and condition are affected. Hence, the VCI is one option to look at vegetation condition and characterize agricultural drought.
      Best regards
      IDMP team

  3. Dear Endale

    Both TCI and VCI are indices calculated from remote sensing data. They use, however different observation input. The Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) uses information from the visible and near infra-red parts of the spectrum and is calculated from the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). For the calculation of the Temperature Condition Index (TCI) observations in thermal bands are used. All data can be collected using an Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR).

    Kind regards
    IDMP team

      1. We have added a link to the reference from F. Kogan on “Global Drought Watch from Space” in the above page.

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