New satellite measurements related to plant physiological functioning


      Dr. Joanna Joiner, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Over the past several years, there have been several breakthroughs in our ability to detect the very small fluorescence emitted by chlorophyll in vegetation globally from space. There are now multiple instruments in space capable of measuring this signal at varying temporal and spatial resolutions. We will review the state-of-the-art with respect to these relatively new satellite measurements and ongoing studies that examine the relationships with photosynthesis. Now that we have a data record spanning more than seven years, we can examine variations due to seasonal carbon uptake, interannual variability, land-use changes, and water and temperature stress. In addition, we examine how clouds and satellite viewing geometry impact the signal. We compare and contrast these variations with those from popular vegetation indices, such as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), related to the potential photosynthesis as well as with measure ments from flux tower gas exchange measurements and other model-based estimates of Global Primary Productivity (GPP). Vegetation fluorescence can be simulated in global vegetation models as well as with 1D canopy radiative transport models. We will describe how the satellite fluorescence data are being used to evaluate and potentially improve these models.