Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Terrestrial environment and atmospheric modelling

A project has been set up to develop physically based models and numerical algorithms to extract quantitative information from satellite remote sensing data. The project investigated biosphere atmosphere interactions, assessing the effect of climatic variability and changes on the biosphere. The approach has centred around the extraction of physical environment parameters from remote sensing data and around the development of physical biosphere models using such data as a source of information. The presence of live vegetation in the environment can be detected on the basis of remote sensing data by exploiting the strong spectral contrast that plants exhibit near the 0.7 um wavelength. The simple spectral indices which exploit this contrast are also sensitive to various perturbing factors such as the presence of atmosphere and the reflectance of the underlying soil. The Global Environment Monitoring Index (GEMI) was designed to address this issue. The reduced sensitivity of GEMI to atmospheric and soil effects was confirmed and the performance of this nonlinear index was documented. One of the major drawbacks associated with remote sensing data from existing satellite sensors is that the combination of a directional solar radiation with a directional viewing, together with the anisotropy of the terrestrial surfaces, results in measurements which are intrinsically dependent on the particular angles of illumination and viewing. Bidirectional reflectance models have been developed to both take advantage of this variability and to allow the correction of the data for angular effects. A modification of one of these models was used to describe the anisotropy of quasi lambertian surfaces used for the calibration of field and laboratory instruments. Members of the project are participating in the design of data analysis algorithms to extract information from new satellite instruments.

Reported by

Joint Research Centre, Ispra
21020 Ispra
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