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Ramakrishna Nemani, Lars Pierce, Steve Running, and Samuel Goward

Abstract

Recent research has shown that the combination of spectral vegetation indices with thermal infrared observations may provide an effective method for parameterizing surface processes at large spatial scales. In this paper, we explore the remotely sensed surface temperature (Ts)/normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) relationship regarding a) influence of biome type on the slope of Ts/NDVI, b) automating the definition of the relationship so that the surface moisture status can he compared with Ts/NDVI at continental scales. The analysis was carded out using 1) NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data over a 300-km × 300-km area in western Montana under various land-use practices (grass, crops, and forests), 2) Earth Resources Observations Systems Data Center continental United States biweekly composite AVHRR data.

A strong negative relationship was observed between NDVI and Ts over all biome types. The similarity of the Ts/NDVI relationships over different biomes indicated that fraction of vegetation cover has strong influence on the spatial variability of Ts. A substantial change in the Ts/NDVI relationship was observed over forests between wet and dry days. In comparison, no change was observed over irrigated crops.

Results from the automated approach agreed well with those using manual selection. At continental scales, the slope of Ts/NDVI is strongly correlated to crop-moisture index values indicating that Ts/NDVI relation is sensitive to surface moisture conditions. Upon further development, this relationship may be useful for parameterizing surface moisture conditions in climate models, decomposition studies, and fire weather monitoring.

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Dennis Baldocchi, Eva Falge, Lianhong Gu, Richard Olson, David Hollinger, Steve Running, Peter Anthoni, Ch. Bernhofer, Kenneth Davis, Robert Evans, Jose Fuentes, Allen Goldstein, Gabriel Katul, Beverly Law, Xuhui Lee, Yadvinder Malhi, Tilden Meyers, William Munger, Walt Oechel, K. T. Paw U, Kim Pilegaard, H. P. Schmid, Riccardo Valentini, Shashi Verma, Timo Vesala, Kell Wilson, and Steve Wofsy

FLUXNET is a global network of micrometeorological flux measurement sites that measure the exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapor, and energy between the biosphere and atmosphere. At present over 140 sites are operating on a long-term and continuous basis. Vegetation under study includes temperate conifer and broadleaved (deciduous and evergreen) forests, tropical and boreal forests, crops, grasslands, chaparral, wetlands, and tundra. Sites exist on five continents and their latitudinal distribution ranges from 70°N to 30°S.

FLUXNET has several primary functions. First, it provides infrastructure for compiling, archiving, and distributing carbon, water, and energy flux measurement, and meteorological, plant, and soil data to the science community. (Data and site information are available online at the FLUXNET Web site, http://www-eosdis.ornl.gov/FLUXNET/.) Second, the project supports calibration and flux intercomparison activities. This activity ensures that data from the regional networks are intercomparable. And third, FLUXNET supports the synthesis, discussion, and communication of ideas and data by supporting project scientists, workshops, and visiting scientists. The overarching goal is to provide information for validating computations of net primary productivity, evaporation, and energy absorption that are being generated by sensors mounted on the NASA Terra satellite.

Data being compiled by FLUXNET are being used to quantify and compare magnitudes and dynamics of annual ecosystem carbon and water balances, to quantify the response of stand-scale carbon dioxide and water vapor flux densities to controlling biotic and abiotic factors, and to validate a hierarchy of soil–plant–atmosphere trace gas exchange models. Findings so far include 1) net CO2 exchange of temperate broadleaved forests increases by about 5.7 g C m−2 day−1 for each additional day that the growing season is extended; 2) the sensitivity of net ecosystem CO2 exchange to sunlight doubles if the sky is cloudy rather than clear; 3) the spectrum of CO2 flux density exhibits peaks at timescales of days, weeks, and years, and a spectral gap exists at the month timescale; 4) the optimal temperature of net CO2 exchange varies with mean summer temperature; and 5) stand age affects carbon dioxide and water vapor flux densities.

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