Assessing FPAR source and parameter optimization scheme in application of a diagnostic carbon flux model

David P. Turner, William D. Ritts, Sonia Wharton, Christoph Thomas, Russell Monson, T. Andrew Black, Matthias Falk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The combination of satellite remote sensing and carbon cycle models provides an opportunity for regional to global scale monitoring of terrestrial gross primary production, ecosystem respiration, and net ecosystem production. FPAR (the fraction of photosynthetically active radiation absorbed by the plant canopy) is a critical input to diagnostic models, however little is known about the relative effectiveness of FPAR products from different satellite sensors nor about the sensitivity of flux estimates to different parameterization approaches. In this study, we used multiyear observations of carbon flux at four eddy covariance flux tower sites within the conifer biome to evaluate these factors. FPAR products from the MODIS and SeaWiFS sensors, and the effects of single site vs. cross-site parameter optimization were tested with the CFLUX model. The SeaWiFs FPAR product showed greater dynamic range across sites and resulted in slightly reduced flux estimation errors relative to the MODIS product when using cross-site optimization. With site-specific parameter optimization, the flux model was effective in capturing seasonal and interannual variation in the carbon fluxes at these sites. The cross-site prediction errors were lower when using parameters from a cross-site optimization compared to parameter sets from optimization at single sites. These results support the practice of multisite optimization within a biome or ecoregion for parameterization of diagnostic carbon flux models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1529-1539
Number of pages11
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 15 2009


  • Carbon flux
  • Diagnostic model
  • Ecosystem respiration
  • FPAR
  • Gross primary production
  • Net ecosystem exchange
  • Parameter optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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