Drolet, GG, Middleton, EM, Huemmrich, KF, Hall, FG, Amiro, BD, Barr, AG, Black, TA, McCaughey, JH, Margolis, HA (2008). Regional mapping of gross light-use efficiency using MODIS spectral indices. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 112(6), 3064-3078.
Direct estimation of photosynthetic light-use efficiency (WE) from space would be of significant benefit to LUE-based models which use inputs from remote sensing to estimate terrestrial productivity. The Photochemical Reflectance Index (PRI) has shown promise in tracking LUE at the leaf- to small canopy levels, but its use at regional to global scales still remains a challenge. In this study, we used different formulations of PRI calculated from the MODIS ocean band centered at 531 nm and a set of alternative reference bands at 488, 551, and 678 nm to explore the relationship between PRI and LUE where WE was measured at eight eddy covariance flux towers located in the boreal forest of Saskatchewan, Canada. The magnitude and variability of WE was significantly lower at the times when useful MODIS ocean band images were available (i.e. around midday under clear-sky conditions) relative to the rest of the growing season. PR1678 (reference band at 678 nm) showed the strongest relationship (r(2)=0.70) with LUE90a (i.e. 90-minute mean WE calculated using Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation, APAR), but only when all sites were combined. Overall, the relationships between the MODIS PRIs and LUE90a were always stronger for observations closer to the backscatter direction and there were no significant differences in the strength of the correlations whether LUE was calculated based on incident PAR or on APAR. Predictions of ecosystem photosynthesis at the time of the MODIS overpasses were significantly improved by multiplying either PAR or APAR by MODIS PRI (r(2) improved from 0.09 to 0.44 and 0.54 depending on the PRI formulation). We used our PRI-LUE model to create a regional LUE90a map for the three cover types covering 47,500 km(2) around the flux sites. The MODIS PRI-derived LUE90a map appeared to capture more realistic spatial heterogeneity of LUE across the landscape compared to a daily WE map derived using the look-up table in the MODIS GPP (MOD17) algorithm. While our LUE map is only a snapshot of minimum regional LUE90a values, with appropriate gap-filling methods it could be used to improve regional-scale monitoring of GPR Moreover, the strong relationship between midday and daily WE on clear days (r(2)=0.93) indicates that instantaneous MODIS observations of LUE90a could be used to estimate daily WE. Finally, pixel shadow fraction from the 5-Scale geometric-optical model was closely related to both MODIS PRI and tower-derived LUE suggesting that differences in stand leaf area and in diffuse illumination among flux sites play a role in the relationship we observed between LUE and MODIS PRI. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.