NIRVP: A robust structural proxy for sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence and photosynthesis across scales

Benjamin Dechant, Youngryel Ryu, Grayson Badgley, Philipp Köhler, Uwe Rascher, Mirco Migliavacca, Yongguang Zhang, Giulia Tagliabue, Kaiyu Guan, Micol Rossini, Yves Goulas, Yelu Zeng, Christian Frankenberg, Joseph A. Berry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) is a promising new tool for remotely estimating photosynthesis. However, the degree to which incoming solar radiation and the structure of the canopy rather than leaf physiology contribute to SIF variations is still not well characterized. Therefore, we investigated relationships between SIF and variables that at least partly capture the canopy structure component of SIF. For this, we relied on high-quality SIF observations from ground-based instruments, high-resolution airborne SIF imagery and the most recent satellite SIF products to cover large ranges in spatial and temporal resolution and diverse ecosystems. We found that the canopy structure-related near-infrared reflectance of vegetation multiplied by incoming sunlight (NIRVP) is a robust proxy for far-red SIF across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Our findings indicate that contributions from leaf physiology to SIF variability are small compared to the structure and radiation components. Also, NIRVP captured spatio-temporal patterns of canopy photosynthesis better than SIF, which seems to be mostly due to the greater retrieval noise of SIF. Compared to other relevant structural SIF proxies, NIRVP showed more robust relationships to SIF, especially at the global scale. Our results highlight the promise of using widely available NIRVP data for vegetation monitoring and also indicate the potential of using SIF and NIRVP in combination to extract physiological information from SIF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112763
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • GPP
  • Gross primary productivity
  • NIRv
  • Near-infrared reflectance of vegetation
  • Photosynthesis
  • Remote sensing
  • SIF
  • Sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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