World's first fluorescence maps to highlight state of global ecosystems
Washington, June 7 (ANI): Scientists have produced revolutionary global maps of land plant fluorescence - the difficult-to-detect reddish glow that leaves emit as a byproduct of photosynthesis.
The new maps are the first to focus on land vegetation and to cover the entire globe.
Most satellite-derived information related to the health of vegetation has come from "greenness" indicators based on reflected rather than fluorescent light. Greenness typically decreases in the wake of droughts, frosts, or other events that limit photosynthesis and cause green leaves to die and change color.
However, there is a lag between what happens on the ground and what satellites can detect. It can take days --- even weeks-before changes in greenness are apparent to satellites.
Chlorophyll fluorescence offers a more direct window into the inner workings of the photosynthetic machinery of plants from space.
"With chlorophyll fluorescence, we should be able to tell immediately if plants are under environmental stress-before outward signs of browning or yellowing of leaves become visible," said Elizabeth Middleton, a NASA Goddard-based biologist and a member of the team that created the maps.
The new maps are based on data collected in 2009 from a spectrometer aboard a Japanese satellite called the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT).
The study has been published online in the journal Biogeosciences. (ANI)
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