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Publications in Scientific Journals:

I. Pfeil, W. Wagner, M. Forkel, W. Dorigo, M. Vreugdenhil:
"Does ASCAT observe the spring reactivation in temperate deciduous broadleaf forests?";
Remote Sensing of Environment, 250 (2020), 112042; 1 - 13.



English abstract:
Scatterometer observations over land are sensitive to the water content in soil and vegetation, but have been rarely used to study seasonal changes in the plant water status and seasonal development of deciduous trees. Here we use Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) observations to investigate the sensitivity of C-band backscatter to spring phenology of temperate deciduous broadleaf forests in Austria. ASCAT's multi-angle looking capability enables the observation of backscatter over a large range of incidence angles. The vegetation status affects the slope of the backscatter-incidence angle relationship. We discovered a maximum in the slope around the month April, hereafter referred to as spring peak, predominantly in regions covered by deciduous broadleaf forest. We hypothesized that the spring peak indicates the average timing of leaf emergence in the deciduous trees in the sensor footprint. The hypothesis was tested by comparing the timing of the spring peak to leaf unfolding observations from the PEP725 phenology database, to the increase of leaf area index (LAI) during spring, and to temperature. Our results demonstrate a good agreement between the ASCAT spring peaks, phenology observations and temperature conditions. The steepest increase in LAI however lags behind the ASCAT peak by several days to a few weeks, suggesting that the spring peak in fact marks the timing of maximum woody water content, which occurs right before leaf emergence. Based on these observations, we conclude that the ASCAT signal has a high sensitivity to spring reactivation and in particular water uptake of bare deciduous broadleaf trees. Our findings might provide the basis for novel developments to estimate eco-physiological changes of forests during spring at large scales.

Keywords:
Active microwave remote sensing Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) Slope Vegetation Deciduous broadleaf forest Functional phenology


"Official" electronic version of the publication (accessed through its Digital Object Identifier - DOI)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2020.112042


Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.