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The potential for estimating chlorophyll content from a vegetation canopy using the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS)

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In 2000, the European Space Agency aims to launch the Envisat-1 satellite platform which will carry the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS), an advanced optical sensor designed to acquire Earth observation data at regional to global scales. Of particular relevance to terrestrial ecosystems functioning, the MERIS offers the potential to estimate the spectral location of the maximum slope, termed the red edge position (REP), which marks the boundary between chlorophyll absorption in the red wavelengths and the high infrared reflectance due to leaf internal scattering. However, although a first derivative transformation of the reflectance spectra will highlight the maximum slope position, the accurate location of the REP is limited by the spectral sampling resolution of the sensor. A theoretical analysis, using a combined leaf-canopy radiative transfer model, demonstrates that the MERIS, having five coarsely spaced wavebands in the region of the REP, can be utilized for monitoring spectral shifts of the REP, resulting from variation in leaf chlorophyll content or leaf area index.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2000

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