Airborne observations of vegetation and implications for biogenic emission characterization

Amy K. Hawes, Susan Solomon, Robert W. Portmann, John S. Daniel, Andrew O. Langford, H. Le Roy Miller, Charles S. Eubank, Paul Goldan, Christine Wiedinmyer, Elliot Atlas, Armin Hansel, Armin Wisthaler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Measuring hydrocarbons from aircraft represents one way to infer biogenic emissions at the surface. The focus of this paper is to show that complementary remote sensing information can be provided by optical measurements of a vegetation index, which is readily measured with high temporal coverage using reflectance data. We examine the similarities between the vegetation index and in situ measurements of the chemicals isoprene, methacrolein, and alpha-pinene to estimate whether the temporal behavior of the in situ measurements of these chemicals could be better understood by the addition of the vegetation index. Data were compared for flights conducted around Houston in August and September 2000. The three independent sets of chemical measurements examined correspond reasonably well with the vegetation index curves for the majority of flight days. While low values of the vegetation index always correspond to low values of the in situ chemical measurements, high values of the index correspond to both high and low values of the chemical measurements. In this sense it represents an upper limit when compared with in situ data (assuming the calibration constant is adequately chosen). This result suggests that while the vegetation index cannot represent a purely predictive quantity for the in situ measurements, it represents a complementary measurement that can be useful in understanding comparisons of various in situ observations, particularly when these observations occur with relatively low temporal frequency. In situ isoprene measurements and the vegetation index were also compared to an isoprene emission inventory to provide additional insight on broad issues relating to the use of vegetation indices in emission database development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-983
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Monitoring
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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