NDVI and EVI: Vegetation Indices (MODIS)

MODIS vegetation indices, produced on 16-day and monthly intervals and at multiple spatial resolutions, provide consistent spatial and temporal comparisons of vegetation canopy greenness, a composite property of leaf area, chlorophyll and canopy structure. Two vegetation indices are derived from atmospherically-corrected reflectance in the red, near-infrared, and blue wavebands; the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), which provides continuity with NOAA's AVHRR NDVI time series record for historical and climate applications, and the enhanced vegetation index (EVI), which minimizes canopy-soil variations and improves sensitivity over dense vegetation conditions. The two products more effectively characterize the global range of vegetation states and processes.

The vegetation indices are retrieved from daily, atmosphere-corrected, bidirectional surface reflectance. The VI's use a MODIS-specific compositing method based on product quality assurance metrics to remove low quality pixels. From the remaining good quality VI values, a constrained view angle approach then selects a pixel to represent the compositing period (from the two highest NDVI values it selects the pixel that is closest-to-nadir). Because the MODIS sensors aboard Terra and Aqua satellites are identical, the VI algorithm generates each 16-day composite eight days apart (phased products) to permit a higher temporal resolution product by combining both data records. The MODIS VI product suite is now used successfully in all ecosystem, climate, and natural resources management studies and operational research as demonstrated by the ever increasing body of peer publications.

Key Strengths:

  • NDVI and EVI at High resolution(s)
  • monthly, half-monthly, 'weekly', daily

Years of Record

2002/02 to 2018/03
temporal metadataID:



Daily | Monthly | Weekly

Data Time Period Extended?

yes, data set is extended


Spatial Resolution

0.05 x 0.05 degree (3600 x 7200) | 250m, 500m, 1km resolutions

Missing Data Flag

missing data present

Vertical Levels

Input Data

Aqua & Terra

Data Access: Please Cite data sources, following the data providers' instructions.

Key Figures

Click the thumbnails to view larger sizes



MODIS-NDVI: half-monthly: 4 July 2017 - 21 July 2017
MODIS-EVI: half-monthly: 4 July 2017 - 21 July 2017

Cite this page

National Center for Atmospheric Research Staff (Eds). Last modified 16 Mar 2018. "The Climate Data Guide: NDVI and EVI: Vegetation Indices (MODIS)." Retrieved from https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/ndvi-and-evi-vegetation-indices-modis.

Acknowledgement of any material taken from this page is appreciated. On behalf of experts who have contributed data, advice, and/or figures, please cite their work as well.