Posts Tagged ‘avatar’

Bioluminescence and Chlorophyll Fluorescence

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

One of many interesting, fantastic details of the film “Avatar” was the bioluminescent plants — and the inter-networked biosystems on Pandora.

Why am I thinking about this? NASA just released details of maps illustrating land plant fluorescence, based on the work of several scientists who published “First observations of global and seasonal terrestrial chlorophyll fluorescence from space.” The abstract:

Remote sensing of terrestrial vegetation fluorescence from space is of interest because it can potentially provide global coverage of the functional status of vegetation. For example, fluorescence observations may provide a means to detect vegetation stress before chlorophyll reductions take place. Although there have been many measurements of fluorescence from ground- and airborne-based instruments, there has been scant information available from satellites. In this work, we use high-spectral resolution data from the Thermal And Near-infrared Sensor for carbon Observation – Fourier Transform Spectrometer (TANSO-FTS) on the Japanese Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT) that is in a sun-synchronous orbit with an equator crossing time near 13:00 LT. We use filling-in of the potassium (K) I solar Fraunhofer line near 770 nm to derive chlorophyll fluorescence and related parameters such as the fluorescence yield at that wavelength. We map these parameters globally for two months (July and December 2009) and show a full seasonal cycle for several different locations, including two in the Amazonia region. We also compare the derived fluorescence information with that provided by the MODIS Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI). These comparisons show that for several areas these two indices exhibit different seasonality and/or relative intensity variations, and that changes in fluorescence frequently lead those seen in the EVI for those regions. The derived fluorescence therefore provides information that is related to, but independent of the reflectance.

Real science is never too far from science fiction, is it?

That reminds me: I should water the garden.