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This dataset indicates the presence and persistence of water across New South Wales between 1988 and 2012. Water is one of the world’s most important resources as it’s critical for human consumption, agriculture, the persistence of flora and fauna species and other ecosystem services. Information about the spatial distribution and prevalence of water is necessary for a range of business, modelling, monitoring, risk assessment, and conservation activities. For example, one of the necessary steps in the NSW State-wide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS), which monitors vegetation change and is used in the production of vegetation maps, involves removing non-vegetative features such as water bodies through water masking. Water count The water count product is based on water index and water masks for NSW (Danaher & Collett 2006), and represents the proportion of observations with water present across the Landsat time series as a fraction of total number of possible observations in the 25yr period (1 Jan 1988 to 31 Dec 2012). The product has two bands where band 1 is the number of times water was present across the time series, and band 2 is the count of unobscured (i.e. non-null) input pixels, or number of total observations for that pixel. Cloud, cloud-shadow, steep slopes and topographic shadow can obscure the ability to count water presence. Water Prevalence The water prevalence product is extracted from the water count product and provides a measure of the relative persistence of water in the landscape (e.g. from always present to rarely and never present). There are 12 classes representing the percentage of time a pixel has had water present out of the total number of observations for that pixel (i.e Band 1/Band 2 of the water count product). Water prevalence mapping provides information for multiple, wide-reaching applications. For example, distance to locations of persistent water bodies can be modelled as a contributing indicator of potential biodiversity refugia. Files align with Landsat paths and rows (see https://www.usgs.gov/core-science-systems/nli/landsat/landsat-tools), with files for water count denoted 'dd7' and water prevalence 'ddh'.
The Landsat-derived fractional cover layer gives the amount of bare ground, green vegetation, and dead vegetation for each pixel on a specific date. The landscape of NSW undergoes a large variation in greenness throughout the seasonal and drought cycles. Information about the variation in greenness can be useful for a variety of mapping and planning tasks. Areas of green vegetation are important for native species habitat and human recreation activities. Green areas in the landscape are often related to the availability of near surface water or recent inundation, such as bogs, swamps and mires. These green areas are important for native plants and animals as locations of food and water in dry times. The green fraction has been analysed for a sequence of images to show how long an area stays green following a greening event, such as grass growth in response to rainfall. The map of green accumulation for NSW was created from Landsat images from 1988 to 2012. Areas exhibiting the highest values are the areas of NSW that respond with high green cover for a long period after a greening event.