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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(3), 226; doi:10.3390/rs9030226

Assessment of Canopy Chlorophyll Content Retrieval in Maize and Soybean: Implications of Hysteresis on the Development of Generic Algorithms

1
School of Remote Sensing and Information Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
2
School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA
3
Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA
4
Israel Institute of Technology (Technion), Haifa 320000, Israel
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jose Moreno, Clement Atzberger and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 4 January 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
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Abstract

Canopy chlorophyll content (Chl) closely relates to plant photosynthetic capacity, nitrogen status and productivity. The goal of this study is to develop remote sensing techniques for accurate estimation of canopy Chl during the entire growing season without re-parameterization of algorithms for two contrasting crop species, maize and soybean. These two crops represent different biochemical mechanisms of photosynthesis, leaf structure and canopy architecture. The relationships between canopy Chl and reflectance, collected at close range and resampled to bands of the Multi Spectral Instrument (MSI) aboard Sentinel-2, were analyzed in samples taken across the entirety of the growing seasons in three irrigated and rainfed sites located in eastern Nebraska between 2001 and 2005. Crop phenology was a factor strongly influencing the reflectance of both maize and soybean. Substantial hysteresis of the reflectance vs. canopy Chl relationship existed between the vegetative and reproductive stages. The effect of the hysteresis on vegetation indices (VI), applied for canopy Chl estimation, depended on the bands used and their formulation. The hysteresis greatly affected the accuracy of canopy Chl estimation by widely-used VIs with near infrared (NIR) and red reflectance (e.g., normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), enhanced vegetation index (EVI) and simple ratio (SR)). VIs that use red edge and NIR bands (e.g., red edge chlorophyll index (CIred edge), red edge NDVI and the MERIS terrestrial chlorophyll index (MTCI)) were minimally affected by crop phenology (i.e., they exhibited little hysteresis) and were able to accurately estimate canopy Chl in two crops without algorithm reparameterization and, thus, were found to be the best candidates for generic algorithms to estimate crop Chl using the surface reflectance products of MSI Sentinel-2. View Full-Text
Keywords: canopy chlorophyll content; reflectance; vegetation index; crop phenology; Sentinel-2 canopy chlorophyll content; reflectance; vegetation index; crop phenology; Sentinel-2
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Peng, Y.; Nguy-Robertson, A.; Arkebauer, T.; Gitelson, A.A. Assessment of Canopy Chlorophyll Content Retrieval in Maize and Soybean: Implications of Hysteresis on the Development of Generic Algorithms. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 226.

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