Duveiller, G; Lopez-Lozano, R; Baruth, B (2013). Enhanced Processing of 1-km Spatial Resolution fAPAR Time Series for Sugarcane Yield Forecasting and Monitoring. REMOTE SENSING, 5(3), 1091-1116.
A processing of remotely-sensed Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (fAPAR) time series at 1-km spatial resolution is established to estimate sugarcane yield over the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. It includes selecting adequate time series according to the signal spatial purity, using thermal time instead of calendar time and smoothing temporally the irregularly sampled observations. A systematic construction of various metrics and their capacity to predict yield is explored to identify the best performance, and see how timely the yield forecast can be made. The resulting dataset not only reveals a strong spatio-temporal structure, but is also capable of detecting both absolute changes in biomass accumulation and changes in its inter-annual variability. Sugarcane yield can thus be estimated with a RMSE of 1.5 t/ha (or 2%) without taking into account the strong linear trend in yield increase witnessed in the past decade. Including the trend reduces the error to 0.6 t/ha, correctly predicting whether the yield in a given year is above or below the trend in 90% of cases. The methodological framework presented here could be applied beyond the specific case of sugarcane in Sao Paulo, namely to other crops in other agro-ecological landscapes, to enhance current systems for monitoring agriculture or forecasting yield using remote sensing.