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Wocher, Matthias; Berger, Katja; Danner, Martin; Mauser, Wolfram; Hank, Tobias (2018): Physically-Based Retrieval of Canopy Equivalent Water Thickness Using Hyperspectral Data. In: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, No. 12, 1924
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Abstract

Quantitative equivalent water thickness on canopy level (EWTcanopy) is an important land surface variable and retrieving EWTcanopy from remote sensing has been targeted by many studies. However, the effect of radiative penetration into the canopy has not been fully understood. Therefore, in this study the Beer-Lambert law is applied to inversely determine water content information in the 930 to 1060 nm range of canopy reflectance from measured winter wheat and corn spectra collected in 2015, 2017, and 2018. The spectral model was calibrated using a look-up-table (LUT) of 50,000 PROSPECT spectra. Internal model validation was performed using two leaf optical properties datasets (LOPEX93 and ANGERS). Destructive in-situ measurements of water content were collected separately for leaves, stalks, and fruits. Correlation between measured and modelled water content was most promising for leaves and ears in case of wheat, reaching coefficients of determination (R-2) up to 0.72 and relative RMSE (rRMSE) of 26% and in case of corn for the leaf fraction only (R-2 = 0.86, rRMSE = 23%). These findings indicate that, depending on the crop type and its structure, different parts of the canopy are observed by optical sensors. The results from the Munich-North-Isar test sites indicated that plant compartment specific EWTcanopy allows us to deduce more information about the physical meaning of model results than from equivalent water thickness on leaf level (EWT) which is upscaled to canopy water content (CWC) by multiplication of the leaf area index (LAI). Therefore, it is suggested to collect EWTcanopy data and corresponding reflectance for different crop types over the entire growing cycle. Nevertheless, the calibrated model proved to be transferable in time and space and thus can be applied for fast and effective retrieval of EWTcanopy in the scope of future hyperspectral satellite missions.