U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Remote Sensing of Environment 279 (2022) 113104



U.S. government work


Recent advances in remotely sensed solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) have provided an exciting and promising opportunity for estimating gross primary production (GPP). Previous studies mainly focused on the linear correlation between SIF and GPP and the slope of the SIF-GPP relationship, both of which lack rigorous consideration of the seasonal trajectories of SIF and GPP. Here, we investigated the timing of seasonal peaks of far-red SIF and GPP in soybean fields by integrating tower data, satellite data, and process-based Soil Canopy Observation of Photosynthesis and Energy (SCOPE, v2.0) model simulations. We found inconsistency between the seasonal peak timing of far-red SIF and GPP in three of four soybean fields based on tower far-red SIF and eddy-covariance measurements. In particular, far-red SIF reached its seasonal maximum 14–17 days earlier than GPP. This far-red SIF-GPP difference in peak timing degraded the correlation between sunny-day far-red SIF and GPP at daily scale (Pearson r = 0.83–0.87 at the site with 14–17 days difference and Pearson r = 0.96 at the site with no difference), and it can be explained by a divergence in the seasonality between absorbed photosynthetic active radiation (APAR) and canopy chlorophyll content (ChlCanopy). We found that the seasonality of far-red SIF - a byproduct of the light reactions of photosynthesis - was primarily controlled by APAR, whereas GPP seasonality was dominated by ChlCanopy. Further, SCOPE model simulations showed that the seasonal patterns of leaf area index (LAI), leaf chlorophyll content (ChlLeaf) and leaf angle distribution (LAD) could affect the different peak timing of SIF and GPP and consequently the seasonal relationship between far-red SIF and GPP. A further increase in LAI after the fraction of light absorption (FPAR) saturates and a later peak of ChlLeaf compared to LAI results in a later peak of GPP compared to far-red SIF. More horizontal leaf angles can further exacerbate this difference. Our results advance mechanistic understanding of the SIF-GPP relationships and combining chlorophyll content information with SIF could potentially improve remote-sensing-based GPP estimation.

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