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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-323
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-323
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  08 Sep 2020

08 Sep 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Unravelling the physical and physiological basis for the solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence and photosynthesis relationship

Peiqi Yang1, Christiaan Van der Tol1, Petya K. E. Campbell2,3, and Elizabeth M. Middleton4 Peiqi Yang et al.
  • 1Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, 7500 AE, the Netherlands
  • 2Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21228, USA
  • 3Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space and Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
  • 4Emeritus of Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space and Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

Abstract. Estimates of the gross terrestrial carbon uptake exhibit large uncertainties. Sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) has an apparent near-linear relationship with gross primary production (GPP). This relationship will potentially facilitate the monitoring of photosynthesis from space. However, the exact mechanistic connection between SIF and GPP is still not clear. To explore the physical and physiological basis for their relationship, we used a unique dataset comprising continuous field measurements of leaf and canopy fluorescence and photosynthesis of corn over a growing season. We found that, at canopy scale, the positive relationship between SIF and GPP was dominated by absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (APAR), which was equally affected by variations in incoming radiation and changes in canopy structure. After statistically controlling these underlying physical effects, the remaining correlation between far-red SIF and GPP due solely to the functional link between fluorescence and photosynthesis at the photochemical level was much weaker. Active leaf-level fluorescence measurements revealed a moderate correlation between the efficiencies of fluorescence emission and photochemistry for sunlit leaves but a weak correlation for shaded leaves. Differentiating sunlit and shaded leaves in the light use efficiency (LUE) models for SIF and GPP facilitates a better understanding of the SIF-GPP relationship at different environmental and canopy conditions. Leaf-level fluorescence measurements also demonstrated that the sustained thermal dissipation efficiency dominated the seasonal energy partitioning while the reversible heat dissipation dominated the diurnal leaf energy partitioning. These diurnal and seasonal variations in heat dissipation underlie, and are thus responsible for, the observed remote sensing-based link between far-red SIF and GPP.

Peiqi Yang et al.

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Peiqi Yang et al.

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Short summary
Solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) has the potential to facilitate the monitoring of photosynthesis from space. This study presents a systematic analysis of the physical and physiological meaning of the relationship between fluorescence and photosynthesis at both leaf and canopy levels. We unravel the individual effects of incoming light, vegetation structure and leaf physiology and highlights their joint effects on the relationship between canopy fluorescence and photosynthesis.
Solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) has the potential to facilitate the monitoring of...
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