Leaf scattering spectrum is the key optical variable that conveys information about leaf absorbing constituents from remote sensing. It cannot be directly measured from space because the radiation scattered from leaves is affected by the 3D canopy structure. In addition, some radiation is specularly reflected at the surface of leaves. This portion of reflected radiation is partly polarized, does not interact with pigments inside the leaf and therefore contains no information about its interior. Very little empirical data are available on the spectral and angular scattering properties of leaf surfaces. Whereas canopy-structure effects are well understood, the impact of the leaf surface reflectance on estimation of leaf absorption spectra remains uncertain. This paper presents empirical and theoretical analyses of angular, spectral, and polarimetric measurements of light reflected by needles and shoots of Pinus koraiensis and Picea koraiensis species. Our results suggest that ignoring the leaf surface reflected radiation can result in an inaccurate estimation of the leaf absorption spectrum. Polarization measurements may be useful to account for leaf surface effects because radiation reflected from the leaf surface is partly polarized, whereas that from the leaf interior is not.
Yang, B., Knyazikhin, Y., Lin, Y., Yan, K., Chen, C., Park, T., Choi, S., Mõttus, M., Rautiainen, M., Myneni, R. B., & Yan, L. (2016). Analyses of impact of needle surface properties on estimation of needle absorption spectrum: Case study with coniferous needle and shoot samples. Remote Sensing, 8(7), . https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8070563