Evaluating endmember and band selection techniques for multiple endmember spectral mixture analysis using post-fire imaging spectroscopy

Zachary Tane*, Dar Roberts, Sander Veraverbeke, Ángeles Casas, Carlos Ramirez, Susan Ustin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Fire impacts many vegetated ecosystems across the world. The severity of a fire is major component in determining post-fire effects, including soil erosion, trace gas emissions, and the trajectory of recovery. In this study, we used imaging spectroscopy data combined with Multiple Endmember Spectral Mixture Analysis (MESMA), a form of spectral mixture analysis that accounts for endmember variability, to map fire severity of the 2013 Rim Fire. We evaluated four endmember selection approaches: Iterative Endmember Selection (IES), count-based within endmember class (In-CoB), Endmember Average Root Mean Squared Error (EAR), and Minimum Average Spectral Angle (MASA). To reduce the dimensionality of the imaging spectroscopy data we used uncorrelated Stable Zone Unmixing (uSZU). Fractional cover maps derived from MESMA were validated using two approaches: (1) manual interpretation of fine spatial resolutionWorldView-2 imagery; and (2) ground plots measuring the Geo Composite Burn Index (GeoCBI) and the percentage of co-dominant and dominant trees with green, brown, and black needles. Comparison to reference data demonstrated fairly high correlation for green vegetation and char fractions (r2 values as high as 0.741 for the MESMA ash fractions compared to classifiedWorldView-2 imagery and as high as 0.841 for green vegetation fractions). The combination of uSZU band selection and In-CoB endmember selection had the best trade-offbetween accuracy and computational efficiency. This study demonstrated that detailed fire severity retrievals based on imaging spectroscopy can be optimized using techniques that would be viable also in a satellite-based imaging spectrometer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number389
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number3
Early online date2 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Fire severity
  • Spectral mixture analysis


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