A MODIS photochemical reflectance index (PRI) as an estimator of isoprene emissions in a temperate deciduous forest

Iolanda Filella, Chao Zhang, Roger Seco, Mark Potosnak, Alex Guenther, Thomas Karl, John Gamon, Stephen Pallardy, Lianhong Gu, Saewung Kim, Manuela Balzarolo, Marcos Fernandez-Martinez, Josep Penuelas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The quantification of isoprene and monoterpene emissions at the ecosystem level with available models and field measurements is not entirely satisfactory. Remote-sensing techniques can extend the spatial and temporal assessment of isoprenoid fluxes. Detecting the exchange of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) using these techniques is, however, a very challenging goal. Recent evidence suggests that a simple remotely sensed index, the photochemical reflectance index (PRI), which is indicative of light-use efficiency, relative pigment levels and excess reducing power, is a good indirect estimator of foliar isoprenoid emissions. We tested the ability of PRI to assess isoprenoid fluxes in a temperate deciduous forest in central USA throughout the entire growing season and under moderate and extreme drought conditions. We compared PRI time series calculated with MODIS bands to isoprene emissions measured with eddy covariance. MODIS PRI was correlated with isoprene emissions for most of the season, until emissions peaked. MODIS PRI was also able to detect the timing of the annual peak of emissions, even when it was advanced in response to drought conditions. PRI is thus a promising index to estimate isoprene emissions when it is complemented by information on potential emission. It may also be used to further improve models of isoprene emission under drought and other stress conditions. Direct estimation of isoprene emission by PRI is, however, limited, because PRI estimates LUE, and the relationship between LUE and isoprene emissions can be modified by severe stress conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number557
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Drought
  • GPP
  • Isoprene
  • LUE
  • PRI
  • Photorespiration
  • Reducing power
  • Substrate availability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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