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Title: Validation and application of the MERIS Terrestrial Chlorophyll Index
Author: Almond, Samuel Francis
ISNI:       0000 0004 2691 0387
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2009
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Climate is one of the key variables driving ecosystems at local to global scales. How and to what extent vegetation responds to climate variability is a challenging topic for global change analysis. Earth observation provides an opportunity to study temporal ecosystem dynamics, providing much needed information about the response of vegetation to environmental and climatic change at local to global scales. The European Space Agency (ESA) uses data recorded by the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERlS) in red I near infrared spectral bands to produce an operational product called the MERlS Terrestrial Chlorophyll Index (MTCI). The MTCI is related to the position of the red edge in vegetation spectra and can be used to estimate the chlorophyll content of vegetation. The MTCI therefore provides a powerful product to monitor phenology, stress and productivity. The MTCI needs full validation if it is to be embraced by the user community who require precise and consistent, spatial and temporal comparisons of vegetation condition. This research details experimental investigations into variables that may influence the relationship between the MTCI and vegetation chlorophyll content, namely soil background and sensor view angle, vegetation type and spatial scale. Validation campaigns in the New Forest and at Brooms Barn agricultural study site reinforced the strong correlation between chlorophyll content and MTCI that was evident from laboratory spectroscopy investigations, demonstrating the suitability of the MTCI as a surrogate for field chlorophyll content measurements independent of cover type. However, this relationship was significantly weakened where the leaf area index (LAI) was low, indicating that the MTCI is sensitive to the effects of soil background. In the light of such conclusions, this project then assessed the MTCI as a tool to monitor changes in ecosystem phenology as a function of climatic variability, and the suitability of the MTCI as a surrogate measure of photosynthetic light use efficiency, to model ecosystem gross primary productivity (GPP) at various sites in North America with contrasting vegetation types. Changes in MTCI throughout the growing season demonstrated the potential of the MTCI to estimate vegetation dynamics, characterising the temporal characteristics in both phenology and gross primary productivity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geography and Environmental Studies