A simple parameterization of canopy reflectance using photon recollision probability

Matti Mõttus, Pauline Stenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Information on the fractions of incident radiation reflected, transmitted and absorbed by a plant canopy is crucial in remote sensing of vegetation and modeling of canopy microclimate. Photon recollision probability p allows to calculate easily the spectral behavior of canopy scattering, i.e. the sum of canopy reflectance and transmittance. However, to divide the scattered radiation into reflected and transmitted fluxes, additional models are needed. In this paper, we present a simple formula to estimate the fraction of radiation scattered upwards by a canopy. The new method is semi-empirical, makes use of the concept of photon recollision probability, and is derived from an analysis of modeling results. Although a physical interpretation is given for the single additional parameter needed in the formula, the scattering asymmetry parameter q, the method is not strictly based on the radiative transfer equation. Our results indicate that the method is accurate for low to moderate leaf area index (LAI) values, and provides a reasonable approximation even at LAI = 8. In addition, we present a method to compute p using numerical radiative transfer models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1545-1551
Number of pages7
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Canopy reflectance
  • Photon recollision probability
  • Radiative transfer modeling in plant canopies


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