Comparison of phenology estimated from reflectance-based indices and solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) observations in a temperate forest using GPP-based phenology as the standard

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Lu, Xiaoliang
Liu, Zhunqiao
Zhou, Yuyu
Liu, Yaling
An, Shuqing
Tang, Jianwu
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Solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence
Fall phenological events
We assessed the performance of reflectance-based vegetation indices and solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) datasets with various spatial and temporal resolutions in monitoring the Gross Primary Production (GPP)-based phenology in a temperate deciduous forest. The reflectance-based indices include the green chromatic coordinate (GCC), field measured and satellite remotely sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI); and the SIF datasets include ground-based measurement and satellite-based products. We found that, if negative impacts due to coarse spatial and temporal resolutions are effectively reduced, all these data can serve as good indicators of phenological metrics for spring. However, the autumn phenological metrics derived from all reflectance-based datasets are later than the those derived from ground-based GPP estimates (flux sites). This is because the reflectance-based observations estimate phenology by tracking physiological properties including leaf area index (LAI) and leaf chlorophyll content (Chl), which does not reflect instantaneous changes in phenophase transitions, and thus the estimated fall phenological events may be later than GPP-based phenology. In contrast, we found that SIF has a good potential to track seasonal transition of photosynthetic activities in both spring and fall seasons. The advantage of SIF in estimating the GPP-based phenology lies in its inherent link to photosynthesis activities such that SIF can respond quickly to all factors regulating phenological events. Despite uncertainties in phenological metrics estimated from current spaceborne SIF observations due to their coarse spatial and temporal resolutions, dates in middle spring and autumn—the two most important metrics—can still be reasonably estimated from satellite SIF. Our study reveals that SIF provides a better way to monitor GPP-based phenological metrics.
© The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Remote Sensing 10 (2018): 932, doi:10.3390/rs10060932.
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Remote Sensing 10 (2018): 932
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