Nearly two decades ago, the idea of the ‘spectral invariants theory’ was put forth as a new tool to model the shortwave radiation absorbed or scattered by vegetation. The theory states that the amount of radiation absorbed by a canopy should to a great accuracy depend only on the wavelength and a wavelength-independent parameter describing canopy structure. The revolutionary idea behind this theory was that it would be possible to approximate vegetation canopy absorptance, transmittance and reflectance based on only the optical properties of foliage elements and the spectrally invariant parameter(s). This paper explains how this so-called spectral invariant is related to photon recollision probability and to canopy structural variables. Other spectral invariants were later introduced to quantify the directionality of canopy scattering. Moreover, the paper reviews the advances in the theoretical development of the photon recollision probability (p) concept and demonstrates some of its applications in global and local monitoring of vegetation using remote sensing data.
- Spectral invariants
- Photon recollision probability
- Radiative transfer
- PARAS model