Articles | Volume 11, issue 17
Biogeosciences, 11, 4695–4712, 2014

Special issue: EUROSPEC – spectral sampling tools for vegetation biophysical...

Biogeosciences, 11, 4695–4712, 2014

Research article 08 Sep 2014

Research article | 08 Sep 2014

Monitoring of carbon dioxide fluxes in a subalpine grassland ecosystem of the Italian Alps using a multispectral sensor

K. Sakowska1,2, L. Vescovo1, B. Marcolla1, R. Juszczak2, J. Olejnik2,3, and D. Gianelle1,4 K. Sakowska et al.
  • 1Sustainable Agro-Ecosystems and Bioresources Department, Research and Innovation Centre – Fondazione Edmund Mach, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 – S. Michele all'Adige (TN), Italy
  • 2Meteorology Department – Poznan University of Life Sciences, Piatkowska Street 94, 60-649 Poznan, Poland
  • 3Department of Matter and Energy Fluxes, Global Change Research Center, AS CR, v.v.i. Belidla 986/4a, 603 00 Brno, Czech Republic
  • 4Foxlab Joint CNR-FEM Initiative, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 – S. Michele all'Adige (TN), Italy

Abstract. The study investigates the potential of a commercially available proximal sensing system – based on a 16-band multispectral sensor – for monitoring mean midday gross ecosystem production (GEPm) in a subalpine grassland of the Italian Alps equipped with an eddy covariance flux tower. Reflectance observations were collected for 5 consecutive years, characterized by different climatic conditions, together with turbulent carbon dioxide fluxes and their meteorological drivers. Different models based on linear regression (vegetation indices approach) and on multiple regression (reflectance approach) were tested to estimateGEPm from optical data. The overall performance of this relatively low-cost system was positive. Chlorophyll-related indices including the red-edge part of the spectrum in their formulation (red-edge normalized difference vegetation index, NDVIred-edge; chlorophyll index, CIred-edge) were the best predictors of GEPm, explaining most of its variability during the observation period. The use of the reflectance approach did not lead to considerably improved results in estimating GEPm: the adjusted R2 (adjR2) of the model based on linear regression – including all the 5 years – was 0.74, while the adjR2 for the multiple regression model was 0.79. Incorporating mean midday photosynthetically active radiation (PARm) into the model resulted in a general decrease in the accuracy of estimates, highlighting the complexity of the GEPm response to incident radiation. In fact, significantly higher photosynthesis rates were observed under diffuse as regards direct radiation conditions. The models which were observed to perform best were then used to test the potential of optical data for GEPm gap filling. Artificial gaps of three different lengths (1, 3 and 5 observation days) were introduced in the GEPm time series. The values of adjR2 for the three gap-filling scenarios showed that the accuracy of the gap filling slightly decreased with gap length. However, on average, the GEPm gaps were filled with an accuracy of 73% with the model fed with NDVIred-edge, and of 76% with the model using reflectance at 681, 720 and 781 nm and PARm data.

Final-revised paper