Published April 13, 2023 | Version v1
Dataset Open

Satellite remote sensing dataset of Sentinel-2 for phenology metrics extraction from sites in Bulgaria and France

  • 1. Space Research and Technology Institute, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Acad. Georgi Bonchev bl.1, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
  • 2. Crop Science, Institute for Agricultural Science, ETH Zurich, Universitatsstrasse 2, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland and Earth Observation of Agroecosystems Team, Devision Agroecology and Environment, Agroscope, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8042 Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3. Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
  • 4. Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, Princetonlaan 8a, 3584 CB Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 5. Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bozen/Bolzano, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
  • 6. Image Processing Laboratory (IPL), Parc Cientific, Universitat de Valencia, 46980 Paterna, Spain
  • 7. Image Processing Laboratory (IPL), Parc Cientific, Universitat de Valencia, 46980 Paterna, Spain and Mantle Labs GmbH, Vienna, Austria
  • 8. Department of Applied Mathematics, Universidad de Alicante, Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig s/n 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig - Alicante, Spain
  • 9. Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Solvegatan 12, S-223 62 Lund, Sweden
  • 10. Forest Research Centre (CEF) and Associated Laboratory TERRA, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal


Site Description:

In this dataset, there are seventeen production crop fields in Bulgaria where winter rapeseed and wheat were grown and two research fields in France where winter wheat – rapeseed – barley – sunflower and winter wheat – irrigated maize crop rotation is used. The full description of those fields is in the database "In-situ crop phenology dataset from sites in Bulgaria and France" (


Methodology and Data Description:

Remote sensing data is extracted from Sentinel-2 tiles 35TNJ for Bulgarian sites and 31TCJ for French sites on the day of the overpass since September 2015 for Sentinel-2 derived vegetation indices and since October 2016 for HR-VPP products. To suppress spectral mixing effects at the parcel boundaries, as highlighted by Meier et al., 2020, the values from all datasets were subgrouped per field and then aggregated to a single median value for further analysis.

Sentinel-2 data was downloaded for all test sites from CREODIAS ( in L2A processing level using a maximum scene-wide cloudy cover threshold of 75%. Scenes before 2017 were available in L1C processing level only. Scenes in L1C processing level were corrected for atmospheric effects after downloading using Sen2Cor (v2.9) with default settings. This was the same version used for the L2A scenes obtained intermediately from CREODIAS. 

Next, the data was extracted from the Sentinel-2 scenes for each field parcel where only SCL classes 4 (vegetation) and 5 (bare soil) pixels were kept. We resampled the 20m band B8A to match the spatial resolution of the green and red band (10m) using nearest neighbor interpolation. The entire image processing chain was carried out using the open-source Python Earth Observation Data Analysis Library (EOdal) (Graf et al., 2022).

Apart from the widely used Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI), we included two recently proposed indices that were reported to have a higher correlation with photosynthesis and drought response of vegetation: These were the Near-Infrared Reflection of Vegetation (NIRv) (Badgley et al., 2017)  and Kernel NDVI (kNDVI) (Camps-Valls et al., 2021). We calculated the vegetation indices in two different ways: 

First, we used B08 as near-infrared (NIR) band which comes in a native spatial resolution of 10 m. B08 (central wavelength 833 nm) has a relatively coarse spectral resolution with a bandwidth of 106 nm.

Second, we used B8A which is available at 20 m spatial resolution. B8A differs from B08 in its central wavelength (864 nm) and has a narrower bandwidth (21 nm or 22 nm in the case of Sentinel-2A and 2B, respectively) compared to B08.


The High Resolution Vegetation Phenology and Productivity (HR-VPP) dataset from Copernicus Land Monitoring Service (CLMS) has three 10-m set products of Sentinel-2: vegetation indices, vegetation phenology and productivity parameters and seasonal trajectories (Tian et al., 2021). Both vegetation indices, Normalized Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Plant Phenology (PPI) and plant parameters, Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetic Active Radiation (FAPAR) and Leaf Area Index (LAI) were computed for the time of Sentinel-2 overpass by the data provider. 

NDVI is computed directly from B04 and B08 and PPI is computed using Difference Vegetation Index (DVI = B08 - B04) and its seasonal maximum value per pixel. FAPAR and LAI are retrieved from B03 and B04 and B08 with neural network training on PROSAIL model simulations. The dataset has a quality flag product (QFLAG2) which is a 16-bit that extends the scene classification band (SCL) of the Sentinel-2 Level-2 products. A “medium” filter was used to mask out QFLAG2 values from 2 to 1022, leaving land pixels (bit 1) within or outside cloud proximity (bits 11 and 13) or cloud shadow proximity (bits 12 and 14). 

The HR-VPP daily raw vegetation indices products are described in detail in the user manual (Smets et al., 2022) and the computations details of PPI are given by Jin and Eklundh (2014). Seasonal trajectories refer to the 10-daily smoothed time-series of PPI used for vegetation phenology and productivity parameters retrieval with TIMESAT (Jönsson and Eklundh 2002, 2004).

HR-VPP data was downloaded through the WEkEO Copernicus Data and Information Access Services (DIAS) system with a Python 3.8.10 harmonized data access (HDA) API 0.2.1. Zonal statistics [’min’, ’max’, ’mean’, ’median’, ’count’, ’std’, ’majority’] were computed on non-masked pixel values within field boundaries with rasterstats Python package 0.17.00.


The Start of season date (SOSD), end of season date (EOSD) and length of seasons (LENGTH) were extracted from the annual Vegetation Phenology and Productivity Parameters (VPP) dataset as an additional source for comparison. These data are a product of the Vegetation Phenology and Productivity Parameters, see ( for detailed information.


File Description:

4 datasets:

1_senseco_data_S2_B08_Bulgaria_France; 1_senseco_data_S2_B8A_Bulgaria_France; 1_senseco_data_HR_VPP_Bulgaria_France; 1_senseco_data_phenology_VPP_Bulgaria_France

3 metadata:

2_senseco_metadata_S2_B08_B8A_Bulgaria_France; 2_senseco_metadata_HR_VPP_Bulgaria_France; 2_senseco_metadata_phenology_VPP_Bulgaria_France


The dataset files “1_senseco_data_S2_B8_Bulgaria_France” and “1_senseco_data_S2_B8A_Bulgaria_France” concerns all vegetation indices (EVI, NDVI, kNDVI, NIRv) data values and related information, and metadata file “2_senseco_metadata_S2_B08_B8A_Bulgaria_France” describes all the existing variables. Both “1_senseco_data_S2_B8_Bulgaria_France” and “1_senseco_data_S2_B8A_Bulgaria_France” have the same column variable names and for that reason, they share the same metadata file “2_senseco_metadata_S2_B08_B8A_Bulgaria_France”.

The dataset file “1_senseco_data_HR_VPP_Bulgaria_France” concerns vegetation indices (NDVI, PPI) and plant parameters (LAI, FAPAR) data values and related information, and metadata file “2_senseco_metadata_HRVPP_Bulgaria_France” describes all the existing variables. 

The dataset file “1_senseco_data_phenology_VPP_Bulgaria_France” concerns the vegetation phenology and productivity parameters (LENGTH, SOSD, EOSD) values and related information, and metadata file “2_senseco_metadata_VPP_Bulgaria_France” describes all the existing variables.



G. Badgley, C.B. Field, J.A. Berry, Canopy near-infrared reflectance and terrestrial photosynthesis, Sci. Adv. 3 (2017) e1602244.

G. Camps-Valls, M. Campos-Taberner, Á. Moreno-Martínez, S. Walther, G. Duveiller, A. Cescatti, M.D. Mahecha, J. Muñoz-Marí, F.J. García-Haro, L. Guanter, M. Jung, J.A. Gamon, M. Reichstein, S.W. Running, A unified vegetation index for quantifying the terrestrial biosphere, Sci. Adv. 7 (2021) eabc7447.

L.V. Graf, G. Perich, H. Aasen, EOdal: An open-source Python package for large-scale agroecological research using Earth Observation and gridded environmental data, Comput. Electron. Agric. 203 (2022) 107487.

H. Jin, L. Eklundh, A physically based vegetation index for improved monitoring of plant phenology, Remote Sens. Environ. 152 (2014) 512–525.

P. Jonsson, L. Eklundh, Seasonality extraction by function fitting to time-series of satellite sensor data, IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens. 40 (2002) 1824–1832.

P. Jönsson, L. Eklundh, TIMESAT—a program for analyzing time-series of satellite sensor data, Comput. Geosci. 30 (2004) 833–845.

J. Meier, W. Mauser, T. Hank, H. Bach, Assessments on the impact of high-resolution-sensor pixel sizes for common agricultural policy and smart farming services in European regions, Comput. Electron. Agric. 169 (2020) 105205.

B. Smets, Z. Cai, L. Eklund, F. Tian, K. Bonte, R. Van Hoost, R. Van De Kerchove, S. Adriaensen, B. De Roo, T. Jacobs, F. Camacho, J. Sánchez-Zapero, S. Else, H. Scheifinger, K. Hufkens, P. Jönsson, HR-VPP Product User Manual Vegetation Indices, 2022.

F. Tian, Z. Cai, H. Jin, K. Hufkens, H. Scheifinger, T. Tagesson, B. Smets, R. Van Hoolst, K. Bonte, E. Ivits, X. Tong, J. Ardö, L. Eklundh, Calibrating vegetation phenology from Sentinel-2 using eddy covariance, PhenoCam, and PEP725 networks across Europe, Remote Sens. Environ. 260 (2021) 112456.



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