Estimating live fuel moisture content from remotely sensed reflectance

Danson, FM ORCID: and Bowyer, P 2004, 'Estimating live fuel moisture content from remotely sensed reflectance' , Remote Sensing of Environment, 92 (3) , pp. 309-321.

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Fuel moisture content (FMC) is used in forest fire danger models to characterise the moisture status of the foliage. FMC expresses the amount of water in a leaf relative to the amount of dry matter and differs from measures of leaf water content which express the amount of water in a leaf relative to its area. FMC is related to both leaf water content and leaf dry matter content, and the relationships between FMC and remotely sensed reflectance will therefore be affected by variation in both leaf biophysical properties. This paper uses spectral reflectance data from the Leaf Optical Properties EXperiment (LOPEX) and modelled data from the Prospect leaf reflectance model to examine the relationships between FMC, leaf equivalent water thickness (EWT) and a range of spectral vegetation indices (VI) designed to estimate leaf and canopy water content. Significant correlations were found between FMC and all of the selected vegetation indices for both modelled and measured data, but statistically stronger relationships were found with leaf EWT; overall, the water index (WI) was found to be most strongly correlated with FMC. The accuracy of FMC estimation was very low when the global range of FMC was examined, but for a restricted range of 0–100%, FMC was estimated with a root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 15% in the model simulations and 51% with the measured data. The paper shows that the estimation of live FMC from remotely sensed vegetation indices is likely to be problematic when there is variability in both leaf water content and leaf dry matter content in the target leaves. Estimating FMC from remotely sensed data at the canopy level is likely to be further complicated by spatial and temporal variations in leaf area index (LAI). Further research is required to assess the potential of canopy reflectance model inversion to estimate live fuel moisture content where a priori information on vegetation properties may be used to constrain the inversion process.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Remote Sensing of Environment
Publisher: Elsevier
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0034-4257
Related URLs:
Depositing User: FM Danson
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2010 10:42
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 10:19

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