Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Remote Sensing of Environment 121 (2012) 404–414; doi:10.1016/j.rse.2012.02.017


A US government work.


An accurate and synoptic quantification of gross primary production (GPP) in crops is essential for studies of carbon budgets at regional and global scales. In this study, we tested a model, relating crop GPP to a product of total canopy chlorophyll (Chl) content and potential incident photosynthetically active radiation (PARpotential). The approach is based on remotely sensed data; specifically, vegetation indices (VI) that are proxies for total Chl content and PARpotential, which is incident PAR under a condition of minimal atmospheric aerosol loading. Using VI retrieved from surface reflectance Landsat data, we found that the model is capable of accurately estimating GPP in maize, with coefficient of variation (CV) below 23%, and in soybean with CV below 30%. The algorithms established and calibrated over three Mead, Nebraska AmeriFlux sites were able to estimate maize and soybean GPP at tower flux sites in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois with acceptable accuracy.