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From the Ground to Space: Using Solar-Induced Chlorophyll Fluorescence to Estimate Crop Productivity

He, Liyin and Magney, Troy and Dutta, Debsunder and Yin, Yi and Köhler, Philipp and Grossmann, Katja and Stutz, Jochen and Dold, Christian and Hatfield, Jerry and Guan, Kaiyu and Peng, Bin and Frankenberg, Christian (2020) From the Ground to Space: Using Solar-Induced Chlorophyll Fluorescence to Estimate Crop Productivity. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (7). Art. No. e2020GL087474. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/2020gl087474.

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Timely and accurate monitoring of crops is essential for food security. Here, we examine how well solar‐induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) can inform crop productivity across the United States. Based on tower‐level observations and process‐based modeling, we find highly linear gross primary production (GPP):SIF relationships for C4 crops, while C3 crops show some saturation of GPP at high light when SIF continues to increase. C4 crops yield higher GPP:SIF ratios (30–50%) primarily because SIF is most sensitive to the light reactions (does not account for photorespiration). Scaling to the satellite, we compare SIF from the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) against tower‐derived GPP and county‐level crop statistics. Temporally, TROPOMI SIF strongly agrees with GPP observations upscaled across a corn and soybean dominated cropland (R² = 0.89). Spatially, county‐level TROPOMI SIF correlates with crop productivity (R² = 0.72; 0.86 when accounting for planted area and C3/C4 contributions), highlighting the potential of SIF for reliable crop monitoring.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
He, Liyin0000-0003-4427-1438
Magney, Troy0000-0002-9033-0024
Yin, Yi0000-0003-4750-4997
Köhler, Philipp0000-0002-7820-1318
Grossmann, Katja0000-0002-5154-197X
Stutz, Jochen0000-0001-6368-7629
Peng, Bin0000-0002-7284-3010
Frankenberg, Christian0000-0002-0546-5857
Additional Information:© 2020 American Geophysical Union. Received 10 FEB 2020; Accepted 4 MAR 2020; Accepted article online 9 MAR 2020. Part of this research was funded by the NASA Carbon Cycle Science program (grant NNX17AE14G). L.H. thanks the Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech for fellowship support. TROPOMI SIF data generation by P.K. and C.F. is funded by the Earth Science U.S. Participating Investigator program (grant NNX15AH95G). TROPOMI SIF product is available at County‐level crop statistics is available at the USDA NASS Quick Stats Database ( Crop‐specific land cover data layer CDL can be accessed at
Group:Resnick Sustainability Institute
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Resnick Sustainability InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:crop monitoring; fluorescence; gross primary production; net primary production
Issue or Number:7
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200408-093014100
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:He, L., Magney, T., Dutta, D., Yin, Y., Köhler, P., Grossmann, K., et al. (2020). From the ground to space: Using solar‐induced chlorophyll fluorescence to estimate crop productivity. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL087474.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:102399
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Apr 2020 16:43
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:11

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