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Water content estimation in vegetation with MODIS reflectance data and model inversion methods

AuthorsZarco-Tejada, Pablo J. ; Rueda, C. A.; Ustin, S. L.
KeywordsRadiative transfer
Water content
Leaf fuel moisture
Equivalent water thickness
Model inversion
Issue Date2003
CitationRemote Sensing of Environment, 85(1), 109-124
AbstractStatistical and radiative-transfer physically based studies have previously demonstrated the relationship between leaf water content and leaf-level reflectance in the near-infrared spectral region. The successful scaling up of such methods to the canopy level requires modeling the effect of canopy structure and viewing geometry on reflectance bands and optical indices used for estimation of water content, such as normalized difference water index (NDWI), simple ratio water index (SRWI) and plant water index (PWI). This study conducts a radiative transfer simulation, linking leaf and canopy models, to study the effects of leaf structure, dry matter content, leaf area index (LAI), and the viewing geometry, on the estimation of leaf equivalent water thickness from canopy-level reflectance. The applicability of radiative transfer model inversion methods to MODIS is studied, investigating its spectral capability for water content estimation. A modeling study is conducted, simulating leaf and canopy MODIS-equivalent synthetic spectra with random input variables to test different inversion assumptions. A field sampling campaign to assess the investigated simulation methods was undertaken for analysis of leaf water content from leaf samples in 10 study sites of chaparral vegetation in California, USA, between March and September 2000. MODIS reflectance data were processed from the same period for equivalent water thickness estimation by model inversion linking the PROSPECT leaf model and SAILH canopy reflectance model. MODIS reflectance data, viewing geometry values, and LAI were used as inputs in the model inversion for estimation of leaf equivalent water thickness, dry matter, and leaf structure. Results showed good correlation between the time series of MODIS-estimated equivalent water thickness and ground measured leaf fuel moisture (LFM) content (r2 = 0.7), demonstrating that these inversion methods could potentially be used for global monitoring of leaf water content in vegetation.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0034-4257(02)00197-9
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