Sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence I: Instrumental considerations for proximal spectroradiometers

Javier Pacheco-Labrador*, Andreas Hueni, Laura Mihai, Karolina Sakowska, Tommaso Julitta, Joel Kuusk, Dan Sporea, Luis Alonso, Andreas Burkart, M. Pilar Cendrero-Mateo, Helge Aasen, Yves Goulas, Alasdair Mac Arthur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Growing interest in the proximal sensing of sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) has been boosted by space-based retrievals and up-coming missions such as the FLuorescence EXplorer (FLEX). The European COST Action ES1309 "Innovative optical tools for proximal sensing of ecophysiological processes" (OPTIMISE, ES1309; has produced three manuscripts addressing the main current challenges in this field. This article provides a framework to model the impact of different instrument noise and bias on the retrieval of SIF; and to assess uncertainty requirements for the calibration and characterization of state-of-the-art SIF-oriented spectroradiometers. We developed a sensor simulator capable of reproducing biases and noises usually found in field spectroradiometers. First the sensor simulator was calibrated and characterized using synthetic datasets of known uncertainties defined from laboratory measurements and literature. Secondly, we used the sensor simulator and the characterized sensor models to simulate the acquisition of atmospheric and vegetation radiances from a synthetic dataset. Each of the sensor models predicted biases with propagated uncertainties that modified the simulated measurements as a function of different factors. Finally, the impact of each sensor model on SIF retrieval was analyzed. Results show that SIF retrieval can be significantly affected in situations where reflectance factors are barely modified. SIF errors were found to correlate with drivers of instrumental-induced biases which are as also drivers of plant physiology. This jeopardizes not only the retrieval of SIF, but also the understanding of its relationship with vegetation function, the study of diel and seasonal cycles and the validation of remote sensing SIF products. Further work is needed to determine the optimal requirements in terms of sensor design, characterization and signal correction for SIF retrieval by proximal sensing. In addition, evaluation/validation methods to characterize and correct instrumental responses should be developed and used to test sensors performance in operational conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number960
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2019


  • Error
  • Sensor model
  • Spectroradiometer
  • Sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence
  • Uncertainty


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