Evaluating the capabilities of Sentinel-2 for quantitative estimation of biophysical variables in vegetation

William Frampton, Januandan Dash, Gary Watmough, Edward Milton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The red edge position (REP) in the vegetation spectral reflectance is a surrogate measure of vegetation chlorophyll content, and hence can be used to monitor the health and function of vegetation. The Multi-Spectral Instrument (MSI) aboard the future ESA Sentinel-2 (S-2) satellite will provide the opportunity for estimation of the REP at much higher spatial resolution (20 m) than has been previously possible with spaceborne sensors such as Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) aboard ENVISAT. This study aims to evaluate the potential of S-2 MSI sensor for estimation of canopy chlorophyll content, leaf area index (LAI) and leaf chlorophyll concentration (LCC) using data from multiple field campaigns. Included in the assessed field campaigns are results from SEN3Exp in Barrax, Spain composed of 35 elementary sampling units (ESUs) of LCC and LAI which have been assessed for correlation with simulated MSI data using a CASI airborne imaging spectrometer. Analysis also presents results from SicilyS2EVAL, a campaign consisting of 25 ESUs in Sicily, Italy supported by a simultaneous Specim Aisa-Eagle data acquisition. In addition, these results were compared to outputs from the PROSAIL model for similar values of biophysical variables in the ESUs. The paper in turn assessed the scope of S-2 for retrieval of biophysical variables using these combined datasets through investigating the performance of the relevant Vegetation Indices (VIs) as well as presenting the novel Inverted Red-Edge Chlorophyll Index (IRECI) and Sentinel-2 Red-Edge Position (S2REP). Results indicated significant relationships between both canopy chlorophyll content and LAI for simulated MSI data using IRECI or the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) while S2REP and the MERIS Terrestrial Chlorophyll Index (MTCI) were found to have the strongest correlation for retrieval of LCC
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-92
JournalISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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