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A PRI-based water stress index combining structural and chlorophyll effects: Assessment using diurnal narrow-band airborne imagery and the CWSI thermal index

AutorZarco-Tejada, Pablo J. ; González-Dugo, Victoria ; Williams, L. E.; Suárez Barranco, María Dolores ; Berni, José A. J.; Goldhamer, D. A.; Fereres Castiel, Elías
Fecha de publicación2013
CitaciónRemote Sensing of Environment 138: 38-50 (2013)
ResumenThis work advances the evaluation and interpretation of the Photochemical Reflectance Index (PRI) as an indicator of water stress, over a range of canopy structures and pigment content levels. Very high resolution (VHR) narrow-band multispectral (10 cm) and thermal (20 cm) imagery was acquired diurnally, in four airborne campaigns conducted over an experimental vineyard site undergoing three different irrigation treatments. Field measurements of leaf stomatal conductance (Gs) and leaf water potential (Ψleaf) were acquired concurrently with the airborne campaigns and compared against the Crop Water Stress Index (CWSI), a widely accepted, thermal-based indicator of water stress, and against narrow-band multispectral indices calculated from pure-vegetation pixels. The study proposes a new formulation, a normalized PRI (PRInorm), in which the standard PRI index is normalized by an index that is sensitive to canopy structure (Renormalized Difference Vegetation Index, RDVI) and by a red edge index that is sensitive to chlorophyll content (R700/R670). The hypothesis investigated is that the new index, calculated as PRInorm = PRI/[RDVI · R700/R670], not only detects xanthophyll pigment changes as a function of water stress, but also normalizes for the chlorophyll content level and canopy leaf area reduction induced by stress. Results demonstrated that when comparing PRInorm against stomatal conductance (r2 = 0.79; p < 0.001) and leaf water potential (r2 = 0.77; p < 0.001) measured at midday, the new index performed better than the standard PRI (r2 = 0.52 and 0.49, respectively). Further, when using the four flights conducted during the diurnal experiment, the relationships with stomatal conductance also showed the superior performance of PRInorm (r2 = 0.68) as opposed to PRI (r2 = 0.4). The proposed normalized PRI was highly related (r2 = 0.75; p < 0.001) to the thermal indicator of water stress, CWSI, which was used here as a benchmark. In comparison, the standard PRI index was found to be significantly related to CWSI (p < 0.001), although the relationship was weaker (r2 = 0.58) than that obtained for PRInorm. In summary, this study demonstrates that PRInorm isolated better than PRI the physiological changes against a changing background of altered pigments and structure, tracking more precisely the diurnal dynamics of the stomatal aperture. Simulations conducted, using leaf and canopy radiative transfer models to elucidate these results, showed that PRInorm is more linearly related to canopy pigment content than the standard PRI, and was more capable of differentiating between stress levels, providing better insight into the results of this diurnal study.
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