Harmonizing solar induced fluorescence across spatial scales, instruments, and extraction methods using proximal and airborne remote sensing: A multi-scale study in a soybean field

Ran Wang, John A. Gamon, Gabriel Hmimina, Sergio Cogliati, Arthur I. Zygielbaum, Timothy J. Arkebauer, Andrew Suyker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) has been widely used to track vegetation photosynthesis at different scales ranging from in-situ measurements to satellite products. Airborne platforms sample SIF data at a spatial scale intermediate between in-situ and satellite, matching that of ground measurement (e.g. flux tower footprints and other field sampling), enabling us to explore causes of SIF variation and validate satellite-based SIF products. However, harmonizing SIF across sensors and platforms (correcting for systematic errors to yield a consistent, comparable SIF product) is challenging because SIF can be retrieved in different absorption windows, with different instruments and methods complicating the comparison between different observational levels (i.e., ground, airborne, satellites) and between sites equipped with different instruments with varying optical properties (spectral resolution and sampling intervals, spatial resolution). Additionally, the spatial and temporal variability of atmospheric properties can influence the retrieval of the weak SIF signal. Because of these complications, direct comparisons of airborne and ground SIF across scales are rarely attempted. In this study, we combined airborne SIF data with simultaneous ‘ground truth’ data collected by stationary and mobile platforms in a soybean field in Nebraska, USA. In this effort, we tested several SIF extraction methods, including Fraunhofer Line Discrimination (FLD), improved Fraunhofer Line Discrimination (iFLD), Spectral Fitting Method (SFM), SpecFit, and a Singular Vector Decomposition (SVD) method. The SpecFit method was sensitive to the 715–740 nm water bands and removing the water bands in the fitting process yielded better agreement between the airborne and ground SIF spectra. Accurate estimation of the ground level downwelling irradiance obtained by ground measurements over a calibration target improved agreement between airborne and ground SIF retrievals at the O2A band, and allowed us to derive a SIF dataset with improved agreement across platforms and sampling scales. This experimental approach provided a method for generating comparable SIF signals across instruments, methods and platforms, which is critical to understanding the SIF-GPP relationship at different scales and to cross-validate the diversity of platforms used for satellite products calibration and validation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113268
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
StatePublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Airborne remote sensing
  • Atmospheric correction
  • FLEX
  • Ibis
  • Scaling
  • SIF
  • SIF retrieval
  • Solar induced fluorescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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