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Estimation of the soil heat flux/net radiation ratio based on spectral vegetation indexes in high-latitude Arctic areas

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The vegetation communities in the Arctic environment are very sensitive to even minor climatic variations and therefore the estimation of surface energy fluxes from high-latitude vegetated areas is an important subject to be pursued. This study was carried out in July-August and used micrometeorological data, spectral reflectance signatures, and vegetation biomass to establish the relation between the soil heat flux/net radiation (G / Rn) ratio and spectral vegetation indices (SVIs). Continuous measurements of soil temperature and soil heat flux were used to calculate the surface ground heat flux by use of conventional methods, and the relation to surface temperature was investigated. Twenty-seven locations were established, and six samples per location, including the measurement of the surface temperature and net radiation to establish the G/Rn ratio and simultaneous spectral reflectance signatures and wet biomass estimates, were registered. To obtain regional reliability, the locations were chosen in order to represent the different Arctic vegetation communities in the study area; ranging from dry tundra vegetation communities (fell fields and dry dwarf scrubs) to moist/wet tundra vegetation communities (snowbeds, grasslands and fens). Spectral vegetation indices, including the simple ratio vegetation index (RVI) and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), were calculated. A comparison of SVIs to biomass proved that RVI gave the best linear expression, and NDVI the best exponential expression. A comparison of SVIs and the surface energy flux ratio G / Rn proved that NDVI gave the best linear expression. SPOT HRV images from July 1989 and 1992 were used to map NDVI and G / Rn at a regional scale.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 20, 1999

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