In Situ Observations Reveal How Spectral Reflectance Responds To Growing Season Phenology Of An Open Evergreen Forest In Alaska

  • Sites: US-Prr
  • Publication Type: JOUR
  • Authors: Kobayashi, H.; Nagai, S.; Kim, Y.; Yang, W.; Ikeda, K.; Ikawa, H.; Nagano, H.; Suzuki, R.

  • Plant phenology timings, such as spring green-up and autumn senescence, are essential state information characterizing biological responses and terrestrial carbon cycles. Current efforts for the in situ reflectance measurements are not enough to obtain the exact interpretation of how seasonal spectral signature responds to phenological stages in boreal evergreen needleleaf forests. This study shows the first in situ continuous measurements of canopy scale (overstory + understory) and understory spectral reflectance and vegetation index in an open boreal forest in interior Alaska. Two visible and near infrared spectroradiometer systems were installed at the top of the observation tower and the forest understory, and spectral reflectance measurements were performed in 10 min intervals from early spring to late autumn. We found that canopy scale normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) varied with the solar zenith angle. On the other hand, NDVI of understory plants was less sensitive to the solar zenith angle. Due to the influence of the solar geometry, the annual maximum canopy NDVI observed in the morning satellite overpass time (10–11 am) shifted to the spring direction compared with the standardized NDVI by the fixed solar zenith angle range (60−70◦). We also found that the in situ NDVI time-series had a month-long high NDVI plateau in autumn, which was completely out of photosynthetically active periods when compared with eddy covariance net ecosystem exchange measurements. The result suggests that the onset of an autumn high NDVI plateau is likely to be the end of the growing season. In this way, our spectral measurements can serve as baseline information for the development and validation of satellite-based phenology algorithms in the northern high latitudes.


  • Journal: Remote Sensing
  • Funding Agency: JAMSTEC
  • Citation Information:
  • Volume: 10
  • No: 7
  • Pages: 1071
  • Publication Year: 2018/07/05
  • DOI: doi:10.3390/rs10071071