On the relationship between sub-daily instantaneous and daily total gross primary production: Implications for interpreting satellite-based SIF retrievals

Yao-Jun Zhang (Corresponding Author), Xiangming Xiao (Corresponding Author), Yongguang Zhang, Sebastian Wolf, Sha Zhou, Joanna Joiner, Luis Guanter, Manish Verma, Ying Sun, Xi Yang, Eugénie Paul-Limoges, Christopher M. Gough, Georg Wohlfahrt, Beniamino Gioli, Christiaan van der Tol, Nouvellon Yann, Magnus Lund, Agnès de Grandcourt

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Spatially and temporally continuous estimation of plant photosynthetic carbon fixation (or gross primary production, GPP) is crucial to our understanding of the global carbon cycle and the impact of climate change. Besides spatial, seasonal and interannual variations, GPP also exhibits strong diurnal variations. Satellite retrieved solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) provides a spatially continuous, but temporally discrete measurement of plant photosynthesis, and has the potential to be used to estimate GPP at global scale. However, it remains unclear whether the seasonal time series of SIF snapshots taken at a fixed time of the day can be used to infer daily total GPP variation at spatial and seasonal scales. In this study, we first used GPP estimates from 135 eddy covariance flux sites, covering a wide range of geographic locations and biome types, to investigate the relationship between the instantaneous GPP (GPPinst) and daily GPP (GPPdaily) on the seasonal course for different times of the day. Latitudinal and diurnal patterns were found to correspond to variations in photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and light use efficiency (LUE), respectively. We then used the Soil-Canopy Observation Photosynthesis and Energy Balance (SCOPE) model and the FluxCom GPP product to investigate the instantaneous and daily SIF-GPP relationships at five flux tower sites along a latitudinal gradient and at a global scale for different biome types. The results showed that daily SIF had a stronger linear correlation with daily GPP than instantaneous SIF at the seasonal scale, with an instantaneous to daily SIF conversion factor following the latitudinal and seasonal pattern driven by PAR. Our study highlights the necessity to take the latitudinal and diurnal factors into consideration for SIF-GPP relationship analyses or for physiological phenology analyses based on SIF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-289
Number of pages14
JournalRemote sensing of environment
Early online date8 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Correction factor
  • Diurnal variation
  • FluxCom
  • Light use efficiency
  • Phenology
  • Photosynthetically active radiation
  • 2023 OA procedure

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