Estimation of crop gross primary production (GPP): fAPARchl versus MOD15A2 FPAR

Qingyuan Zhang, Yen Ben Cheng, Alexei I. Lyapustin, Yujie Wang, Feng Gao, Andrew Suyker, Shashi Verma, Elizabeth M. Middleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Photosynthesis (PSN) is a pigment level process in which antenna pigments (predominately chlorophylls) in chloroplasts absorb photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) for the photochemical process. PAR absorbed by foliar non-photosynthetic components is not used for PSN. The fraction of PAR absorbed (fAPAR) by a canopy/vegetation (i.e., fAPARcanopy) derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images, referred to as MOD15A2 FPAR, has been used to compute absorbed PAR (APAR) for PSN (APARPSN) which is utilized to produce the standard MODIS gross primary production (GPP) product, referred to as MOD17A2 GPP. In this study, the fraction of PAR absorbed by chlorophyll throughout the canopy (fAPARchl) was retrieved from MODIS images for three AmeriFlux crop fields in Nebraska. There are few studies in the literature that compare the performance of MOD15A2 FPAR versus fAPARchl in GPP estimation. In our study MOD15A2 FPAR and the retrieved fAPARchl were compared with field fAPARcanopy and the fraction of PAR absorbed by green leaves of the vegetation (fAPARgreen). MOD15A2 FPAR overestimated field fAPARcanopy in spring and in fall, and underestimated field fAPARcanopy in midsummer whereas fAPARchl correctly captured the seasonal phenology. The retrieved fAPARchl agreed well with field fAPARgreen at early crop growth stage in June, and was less than field fAPARgreen in late July, August and September. GPP estimates with fAPARchl and with MOD15A2 FPAR were compared to tower flux GPP. GPP simulated with fAPARchl was corroborated with tower flux GPP. Improvements in crop GPP estimation were achieved by replacing MOD15A2 FPAR with fAPARchl which also reduced uncertainties of crop GPP estimates by 1.12-2.37gCm-2d-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
StatePublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • GPP
  • MOD15A2 FPAR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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