- Abstract Sensitive areas like oases are threatened by climatic variations and human activities that can catalyze desertification processes. Remote sensing the Earth surface from satellites is a good tool to monitor such types of change through several techniques. In this paper a remote sensing method that has been widely used for vegetated areas is adapted to study dry regions. The method consists of a combination of the Change Vector Analysis and the Tasselled Cap (TC) transform. To adapt it to dryland conditions a new set of parameters for the TC transform is hereby calculated for the Landsat 8 OLI system. The new TC parameters are tested in the analysis of the surface change in Azraq Oasis, Jordan, over a time span of 30 years (1984–2013) for Landsat satellites images. Azraq is considered a good testing site since in the early 1990s it has been subject to a complete drying up of the superficial springs, mainly due to over-exploitation of the groundwater basin. Results show that the chosen technique is able to detect the expected change on the surface, consistent with photo-interpretation and historical information available.