Measurements of spectro-directional radiances done with the imaging spectrometer CHRIS on-board the agile platform PROBA are being used to determine key properties of terrestrial vegetation at the appropriate spatial resolution. These data on vegetation properties can then be used to improve the accuracy and the parameterizations of models describing biosphere processes, i.e. photosynthesis and water use by irrigated crops and trees.
The vegetation properties considered are: albedo, Leaf Area Index (LAI), fractional cover, fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (fAPAR) and canopy chlorophyll content.
The Natural Park of San Rossore (Pisa, Central Italy) is a primary test site for several national and international research projects dealing with forest ecosystem monitoring. In particular, since 1999 measurements of transpiration and ecosystem gas-exchange have been regularly taken in the park pine forest to characterize its main water and carbon fluxes. In the same period, several aerial flights have been carried out with onboard hyper-spectral sensors (MIVIS, VIRS, AISA), while a series of satellite images have been acquired using both conventional (NOAAAVHRR, Landsat-TM/ETM+) and advanced sensors (CHRIS-PROBA).
The final objective of these activities is to calibrate and validate methodologies which integrate remotely sensed and ancillary data for monitoring forest ecosystem. More specifically, a major research effort has been focused on evaluating the additional information content provided by advanced hyper-spectral multi-angular sensors about the main parameters needed for forest characterization (species, LAI, pigment content, etc.). These activities are part of
projects which are financed by the Italian and European Space Agencies (ASI and ESA, respectively) within the framework of the CHRIS-PROBA and SPECTRA missions.
During 2002 and 2003 nine complete multi-angular acquisitions were successfully performed over the San Rossore site. This paper summarizes first results of the evaluation of data acquired so far, particularly forward modeling of Top Of Canopy (TOC) reflectances. The models KUUSK, SAIL and GeoSAIL were used to simulate spectro-directional reflectance of different stands in the forest and compared with PROBA - CHRIS and airborne hyperspectral observations. Deviations of simulated from observed reflectances were significant.