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  • Magney, Troy S.; Frankenberg, Christian; Kohler, Philipp; North, Gretchen; Davis, Thomas S.; Dold, Christian; Dutta, Debsunder; Fisher, Joshua B.; Grossmann, Katja; Harrington, Alexis; Hatfield, Jerry; Stutz, Jochen; Sun, Ying; Porcar-Castell, Albert (2019)
    Novel satellite measurements of solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) can improve our understanding of global photosynthesis; however, little is known about how to interpret the controls on its spectral variability. To address this, we disentangle simultaneous drivers of fluorescence spectra by coupling active and passive fluorescence measurements with photosynthesis. We show empirical and mechanistic evidence for where, why, and to what extent leaf fluorescence spectra change. Three distinct components explain more than 95% of the variance in leaf fluorescence spectra under both steady-state and changing illumination conditions. A single spectral shape of fluorescence explains 84% of the variance across a wide range of species. The magnitude of this shape responds to absorbed light and photosynthetic up/down regulation; meanwhile, chlorophyll concentration and nonphotochemical quenching control 9% and 3% of the remaining spectral variance, respectively. The spectral shape of fluorescence is remarkably stable where most current satellite retrievals occur (far-red, >740nm), and dynamic downregulation of photosynthesis reduces fluorescence magnitude similarly across the 670- to 850-nm range. We conduct an exploratory analysis of hourly red and far-red canopy SIF in soybean, which shows a subtle change in red:far-red fluorescence coincident with photosynthetic downregulation but is overshadowed by longer-term changes in canopy chlorophyll and structure. Based on our leaf and canopy analysis, caution should be taken when attributing large changes in the spectral shape of remotely sensed SIF to plant stress, particularly if data acquisition is temporally sparse. Ultimately, changes in SIF magnitude at wavelengths greater than 740 nm alone may prove sufficient for tracking photosynthetic dynamics. Plain Language Summary Satellite remote sensing provides a global picture of photosynthetic activity-allowing us to see when, where, and how much CO2 plants are assimilating. To do this, satellites measure a small emission of energy from the plants called chlorophyll fluorescence. However, this measurement is typically made across a narrow wavelength range, while the emission spectrum (650-850 nm) is quite dynamic. We show where, why, and to what extent leaf fluorescence spectra change across a diverse range of species and conditions, ultimately informing canopy remote sensing measurements. Results suggest that wavelengths currently used by satellites are stable enough to track the downregulation of photosynthesis resulting from stress, while spectral shape changes respond more strongly to dynamics in canopy structure and chlorophyll concentration.
  • Wang, Siyu; Lu, Xinchen; Cheng, Xiao; Li, Xianglan; Peichl, Matthias; Mammarella, Ivan (2018)
    Recent efforts have been made to monitor the seasonal metrics of plant canopy variations globally from space, using optical remote sensing. However, phenological estimations based on vegetation indices (VIs) in high-latitude regions such as the pan-Arctic remain challenging and are rarely validated. Nevertheless, pan-Arctic ecosystems are vulnerable and also crucial in the context of climate change. We reported the limitations and challenges of using MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) measurements, a widely exploited set of satellite measurements, to estimate phenological transition dates in pan-Arctic regions. Four indices including normalized vegetation difference index (NDVI), enhanced vegetation index (EVI), phenology index (PI), plant phenological index (PPI) and a MODIS Land Cover Dynamics Product MCD12Q2, were evaluated and compared against eddy covariance (EC) estimates at 11 flux sites of 102 site-years during the period from 2000 to 2014. All the indices were influenced by snow cover and soil moisture during the transition dates. While relationships existed between VI-based and EC-estimated phenological transition dates, the R-2 values were generally low (0.01-0.68). Among the VIs, PPI-estimated metrics showed an inter-annual pattern that was mostly closely related to the EC-based estimations. Thus, further studies are needed to develop region-specific indices to provide more reliable estimates of phenological transition dates.
  • Zhang, Zhaoying; Zhang, Yongguang; Porcar-Castell, Albert; Joiner, Joanna; Guanter, Luis; Yang, Xi; Migliavacca, Mirco; Ju, Weimin; Sun, Zhigang; Chen, Shiping; Martini, David; Zhang, Qian; Li, Zhaohui; Cleverly, James; Wang, Hezhou; Goulas, Yves (2020)
    Quantifying global photosynthesis remains a challenge due to a lack of accurate remote sensing proxies. Solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) has been shown to be a good indicator of photosynthetic activity across various spatial scales. However, a global and spatially challenging estimate of terrestrial gross primary production (GPP) based on satellite SIF remains unresolved due to the confounding effects of species-specific physical and physiological traits and external factors, such as canopy structure or photosynthetic pathway (C-3 or C-4). Here we analyze an ensemble of far-red SIF data from OCO-2 satellite and ground observations at multiple sites, using the spectral invariant theory to reduce the effects of canopy structure and to retrieve a structure-corrected total canopy SIF emission (SIFtotal). We find that the relationships between observed canopy-leaving SIF and ecosystem GPP vary significantly among biomes. In contrast, the relationships between SIFtotal and GPP converge around two unique models, one for C-3 and one for C-4 plants. We show that the two single empirical models can be used to globally scale satellite SIF observations to terrestrial GPP. We obtain an independent estimate of global terrestrial GPP of 129.56 +/- 6.54 PgC/year for the 2015-2017 period, which is consistent with the state-of-the-art data- and process-oriented models. The new GPP product shows improved sensitivity to previously undetected 'hotspots' of productivity, being able to resolve the double-peak in GPP due to rotational cropping systems. We suggest that the direct scheme to estimate GPP presented here, which is based on satellite SIF, may open up new possibilities to resolve the dynamics of global terrestrial GPP across space and time.