Research ArticleENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Canopy near-infrared reflectance and terrestrial photosynthesis

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Science Advances  22 Mar 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 3, e1602244
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602244

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Abstract

Global estimates of terrestrial gross primary production (GPP) remain highly uncertain, despite decades of satellite measurements and intensive in situ monitoring. We report a new approach for quantifying the near-infrared reflectance of terrestrial vegetation (NIRV). NIRV provides a foundation for a new approach to estimate GPP that consistently untangles the confounding effects of background brightness, leaf area, and the distribution of photosynthetic capacity with depth in canopies using existing moderate spatial and spectral resolution satellite sensors. NIRV is strongly correlated with solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence, a direct index of photons intercepted by chlorophyll, and with site-level and globally gridded estimates of GPP. NIRV makes it possible to use existing and future reflectance data as a starting point for accurately estimating GPP.

Keywords
  • gross primary production
  • near-infrared reflectance
  • photosynthesis

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