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The Chlorophyll Fluorescence Imaging Spectrometer (CFIS), mapping far red T...

Frankenberg, C., P. Köhler, T. S. Magney, S. Geier, P. Lawson, M. Schwochert, J. McDuffie, D. Drewry, R. Pavlick, and A. Kuhnert (2018), The Chlorophyll Fluorescence Imaging Spectrometer (CFIS), mapping far red T fluorescence from aircraft, Remote Sensing of Environment, 217, 523-536, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2018.08.032.

The Chlorophyll Fluorescence Imaging Spectrometer (CFIS) is an airborne high resolution imaging spectrometer built at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for evaluating solar-induced fluorescence (SIF) from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2). OCO-2 is a NASA mission designed to measure atmospheric CO2 but one of the novel data products is SIF, retrieved using reductions in the optical depth of Fraunhofer lines in OCO-2’s O2 Aband, covering 757–775 nm at 0.042 nm spectral resolution. CFIS was specifically designed to retrieve SIF within the wavelength range of OCO-2, but extends further down to 737 nm, nearly maintaining the high spectral resolution of the OCO-2 instrument (0.07 vs. 0.042 nm). Here, we provide an overview of the instrument calibration and performance as well as the retrieval strategy based on non-linear weighted least-squares. To illustrate the retrieval performance using actual flight data, we focus on data acquired over agricultural fields in Mead, Nebraska from an unpressurized Twin Otter (DHC-6) aircraft at a flight altitude of 3000 m above ground level (AGL). Spectral residuals are consistent with expected detector noise, which enables us to compute realistic 1-σ precision errors of 0.5–0.7 W/m2/sr/μm for typical SIF retrievals, which can be reduced to < 0.2 W/m2/sr/ μm when individual data is gridded at 30 m spatial resolution. The 30 m resolution also enabled direct comparison with the Crop Data Layer from the National Agricultural Statistics Service as well as Landsat imagery (NDVI, EVI, Tskin), taken just a day prior to the CFIS overflights. Results show consistently higher vegetation indices and SIF values over soy fields compared to corn, likely due to the respective phenological stage, which might already have affected chlorophyll content and canopy structure (August 15, 2016). While this work is intended to highlight the technical capabilities and performance of CFIS, the comparisons against Landsat and crop types provide insights into how CFIS can be used to study mechanisms related to photosynthesis at fine spatial scales, with the fidelity needed to obtain un-biased SIF retrievals void of atmospheric correction.

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