A small set of independent variables generally seems to suffice when attempting to describe the spectral response of a vegetation canopy to incident solar radiation. This set includes the soil reflectance, the single-scattering albedo, canopy transmittance, reflectance and interception, the portion of uncollided radiation in the total incident radiation, and portions of collided canopy transmittance and interception. All of these are measurable; they satisfy a simple system of equations and constitute a set that fully describes the law of energy conservation in vegetation canopies at any wavelength in the visible and near-infrared part of the solar spectrum. Further, the system of equations specifies the relationship between the optical properties at the leaf and the canopy scales. Thus, the information content of hyperspectral data can be fully exploited if these variables can be retrieved, for they can be more directly related to some of the physical properties of the canopy (e.g. leaf area index). This paper demonstrates this concept through retrievals of single-scattering albedo, canopy absorptance, portions of uncollided and collided canopy transmittance, and interception from hyperspectral data collected during a field campaign in Ruokolahti, Finland, June 14–21, 2000. The retrieved variables are then used to estimate canopy leaf area index, vegetation ground cover, and also the ratio of direct to total incident solar radiation at blue, green, red, and near-infrared spectral intervals.
- vegetation canopy