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A novel two-step method for winter wheat-leaf chlorophyll content estimation using a hyperspectral vegetation index

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Remote sensing estimation of leaf chlorophyll content is of importance to crop nutrition diagnosis and yield assessment, yet the feasibility and stability of such estimation has not been assessed thoroughly for mixed pixels. This study analyses the influence of spectral mixing on leaf chlorophyll content estimation using canopy spectra simulated by the PROSAIL model and the spectral linear mixture concept. It is observed that the accuracy of leaf chlorophyll content estimation would be degraded for mixed pixels using the well-accepted approach of the combination of transformed chlorophyll absorption index (TCARI) and optimized soil-adjusted vegetation index (OSAVI). A two-step method was thus developed for winter wheat chlorophyll content estimation by taking into consideration the fractional vegetation cover using a look-up-table approach. The two methods were validated using ground spectra, airborne hyperspectral data and leaf chlorophyll content measured the same time over experimental winter wheat fields. Using the two-step method, the leaf chlorophyll content of the open canopy was estimated from the airborne hyperspectral imagery with a root mean square error of 5.18 μg cm−2, which is an improvement of about 8.9% relative to the accuracy obtained using the TCARI/OSAVI ratio directly. This implies that the method proposed in this study has great potential for hyperspectral applications in agricultural management, particularly for applications before crop canopy closure.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China 2: Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Canada

Publication date: November 2, 2014

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