Dr. Motoya of the Hydrological
Cycle Research Program, in the Frontier Research Center for
Global Change, has received the "incentive prize"
for a research paper from the Japan Society of Hydrology and
Water Resources. This prize is awarded annually to two or
three recently published papers authored by young scientists
up to 35 years of age. The winning paper, which appeared in
the July 2003 issue of the Journal of the Japan Society of
Hydrology and Water Resources, was titled "Spectral characteristic-based
vegetation and snow indices on various surfaces in the Airborne
Multi-Spectral Scanner (AMSS) two-altitude observation in
2001"[(J Jpn Soc Hydrol Water Resour, 16(4):408-419, 2003,
in Japanese with English summary and figure captions)].
In this paper, Dr. Motoya applied new snow and
vegetation indices (after Saito and Yamazaki, 1999) for snow-covered
forests using airplane observation data, and confirmed their
validity via remote sensing. The indices are based on ground
truth observation, calculated from three-band (i.e., one visible,
two near-infrared channels) spectral reflectance, and have
the ability to detect snow cover under the forest canopy more
The study was highly valued on account of the
1. The validity of the new snow/vegetation indices
was demonstrated by airplane observations of the spectral
reflectance of the land surface.
2. The new indices can be calculated more easily
than the normalized difference snow index (NDSI), which is
widely used internationally, without the normalized difference
vegetation index (NDVI).
3. The indices are highly flexible in their
application to various situations because the three optical
bands are obtained by a fairly large number of earth observation
4. The study represents an interface between
remote sensing of land surface conditions and ground-based
These points highlight the reasons for
which the Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources awarded
Dr. Motoya's paper the incentive prize for a research paper.