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Retrieval of chlorophyll content and LAI of crops using hyperspectral techniques: application to PROBA/CHRIS data

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Hyperspectral/multiangular data allow the retrieval of important vegetation properties at canopy level, such as the Leaf Area Index (LAI) and Leaf Chlorophyll Content. Current methods are based on the relationship between biophysical properties and retrievals from those spectral bands (from the complete hyperspectral/multiangular information) where specific absorption features are present within the considered spectral range. Furthermore, new sensors such as PROBA/CHRIS provide continuous hyperspectral reflectance measurements that can be considered as a continuous function of wavelength. The mathematical analysis of these continuous functions allows a new way of exploiting the relationships between spectral reflectance and biophysical variables by more powerful and stable mathematical tools, in particular for the retrieval of LAI and chlorophyll content. Within the overall context of the European Space Agency (ESA) Spectra Barrax Campaign (SPARC) experiment, an extensive field study was carried out in La Mancha, Spain, simultaneously to the overflight of airborne imaging spectrometers (AHS, HyMAP, ROSIS) and the overpass of CHRIS-PROBA and MERIS sensors. During the SPARC-2003 and SPARC-2004 campaigns, numerous ground measurements were made in the Barrax study area (covering LAI, fCover, leaf chlorophyll a+b, leaf water content and leaf biomass), together with other complementary data, and a total of 17 CHRIS-PROBA images were acquired. Representative points have been selected from a total of nine different crops, and also retrieved from the CHRIS-PROBA images acquired within the days of the field campaign. About 250 reflectance spectra from five different observation angles have been analysed. Hyperspectral reflectance spectra have been adjusted by means of third-degree polynomial functions between 500 nm and 750 nm, and correlations observed between LAI values and the coefficients of these polynomials yielded LAI as a result of the mathematical fitting. On the other hand, the area under the spectral reflectance curves has been calculated in the interval from 600 nm to 700 nm, the region of the red spectral interval where strong absorption features for chlorophyll have been observed, though areas under the curves are also strongly correlated to the chlorophyll content of the crops. Furthermore, a linear relationship between these areas and the chlorophyll content is proposed in this work. This relationship allows the retrieval of leaf chlorophyll by satellite data, based on the spectral information. Both of the proposed methods are almost independent of the observation angles employed. The high number of in situ measurements acquired simultaneously to satellite overpasses, and the broad available range of data, have allowed validation of both methods, with a large number of data and in a statistically consistent manner.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Earth Physics and Thermodynamics, Faculty of Physics, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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