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Retrieving leaf and canopy characteristics from their radiative properties using physically based models : from laboratory to satellite observations

Abstract : Measuring leaf and canopy characteristics from remote sensing acquisitions is an effective and non destructive way to monitor crops both for decision making within the smart agriculture practices or for phenotyping under field conditions to improve the selection efficiency. With the advancement of computer computing power and the increasing availability of high spatial resolution images, retrieval methods can now benefit from more accurate simulations of the Radiative Transfer (RT) models within the vegetation. The objective of this work is to propose and evaluate efficient ways to retrieve leaf and canopy characteristics from close and remote sensing observations by using RT models based on a realistic description of the leaf and canopy structures. At the leaf level, we first evaluated the ability of the different versions of the PROSPECT model to estimate biochemical variables like chlorophyll (Cab), water and dry matter content. We then proposed the FASPECT model to describe the optical properties differences between the upper and lower leaf faces by considering a four-layer system. After calibrating the specific absorption coefficients of the main absorbing material, we validated FASPECT against eight measured ground datasets. We showed that FASPECT simulates accurately the reflectance and transmittance spectra of the two faces and overperforms PROSPECT for the upper face measurements. Moreover, in the inverse mode, the dry matter content estimation is significantly improved with FASPECT as compared to PROSPECT. At the canopy level, we used the physically based and unbiased rendering engine, LuxCoreRender to compute the radiative transfer from a realistic 3D description of the crop structure. We checked its good performances by comparison with the state of the art 3D RT models using the RAMI online model checker. Then, we designed a speed-up method to simulate canopy reflectance from a limited number of soil and leaf optical properties. Based on crop specific databases simulated from LuxCoreRender for wheat and maize and crop generic databases simulated from a 1D RT model, we trained some machine learning inversion algorithms to retrieve canopy state variables like Green Area Index GAI, Cab and Canopy Chlorophyll Content (CCC). Results on both simulations and in situ data combined with SENTINEL2 images showed that crop specific algorithms outperform the generic one for the three variables, especially when the canopy structure breaks the 1D turbid medium assumption such as in maize where rows are dominant during a significant part of the growing season.
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Jingyi Jiang. Retrieving leaf and canopy characteristics from their radiative properties using physically based models : from laboratory to satellite observations. Earth Sciences. Université d'Avignon, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019AVIG0708⟩. ⟨tel-02499223⟩

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