Land surface phenology from optical satellite measurement and CO2 eddy covariance technique


Corresponding author: A. Gonsamo, Department of Geography and Program in Planning, University of Toronto, Room 5047, Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G3, Canada. (


[1] Land surface phenology (LSP) is an integrative indicator of vegetation dynamics under a changing environment. Increasing amounts of remote sensing measurements and CO2flux observations offer unprecedented opportunities to quantify LSP phases at landscape scale. LSP start of season (SOS) and end of season (EOS) estimates are often based on the use of a single-purpose vegetation index derived from optical satellite data, characterized by poor performances in decoupling soil and snow cover dynamics from LSP cycles, as well as contrasting responses of the needleleaf and broadleaf forests in boreal ecosystems. We propose a new remote-sensing-based phenology index (PI) which combines the merits of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and normalized difference infrared index (NDII) by taking the difference of squared greenness and wetness to remove the soil and snow cover dynamics from key vegetation LSP cycles. We have cross-validated the remote-sensing-based LSP dates with those of CO2 flux observations from 11 selected tower sites across Canada and the United States consisting of needleleaf forests, broadleaf forests, and croplands. The results indicate that PI estimates the SOS and EOS dates better than NDVI when compared to the LSP dates from CO2flux measurements (reduced RMSE, bias and dispersions, and higher correlation). PI-based SOS and EOS estimates are in good agreement with those derived from CO2flux measurements with mean bias comparable to the temporal resolution of the high-quality, 8-day composite satellite measurements. Finally, PI also shows a smoother time series compared to NDVI and NDII.