Canadian Forest Service Publications

Separating physiologically and directionally induced changes in PRI using BRDF models. 2008. Hilker, T.; Coops, N.C.; Hall, F.G.; Black, T.A.; Wulder, M.A.; Nesic, Z.; Krishnan, P. Remote Sensing of Environment 112(6): 2777-2788.

Year: 2008

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 28151

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2008.01.011

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Monitoring of photosynthetic efficiency (e) over space and time is a critical component of climate change research as it is a major determinant of the amount of carbon accumulated by terrestrial ecosystems. While the past decade has seen progress in the remote estimation of e at the leaf, canopy and stand level using the photochemical reflectance index PRI (based on the normalized difference of reflectance at 531 and 570 nm), little is known about the temporal and spatial requirements for up-scaling PRI to landscape and global levels using satellite observations. One potential way to investigate these requirements is using automated tower-based remote sensing platforms, which observe stand level reflectance with high spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution. Prediction of e from PRI diurnally or over a full year requires observations of canopy reflectance over multiple view and sun-angles. As a result, these observations are subject to directional reflectance effects which can be interpreted in terms of the bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) using semi-empirical kernel driven models. These semi-empirical models use a combination of physically based BRDF shapes and empirical observations to standardize multi-angular observations to a common viewing and illumination geometry. Directional reflectance effects are thereby modeled as a linear superposition of mathematical kernels, representing the bi-direction variation in reflectance from isotropic, geometric, and volumetric scattering components of the vegetation canopy. However, because variations in plant physiological conditions can also introduce bidirectional reflectance variations, we introduce an approach to separate bidirectional effects arising purely from plant physiological status from other effects by stratifying PRI observations into categories based on environmental conditions for which the expected physiological variability is low. Within each of these PRI strata, the derived physically based BRDF shapes were used to standardize multi-angular PRI measurements to a common viewing and illumination geometry. The method significantly enhanced the relationship found between PRI and e (from r2 = 0.38 for the directionally uncorrected case to r2 = 0.82 for the directionally corrected case) from data measured continuously over the course of 1 year over an evergreen conifer forest using an automated platform. Results show that isotropic PRI scattering is highly correlated to changes in e, while geometric scattering can be related to canopy level shading. Instrumentation and approaches such as the one demonstrated in this study may be integrated into current efforts aiming at predicting e at global scales using satellite observations.