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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2015  /  March 2015  /  A new satellite to measure global plant fluorescence

A new satellite to measure global plant fluorescence

UCL team at European Space Research and Technology Centre

A new satellite to measure global plant fluorescence

The UCL Geography Earth Observation Group have recently contributed to the preliminary report for a planned new satellite which would be used to measure vegetation fluorescence globally.

The FLEX satellite (Fluorescence Explorer) aims to supply the first ever high spatial-resolution space-borne images of plant fluorescence, providing better estimates of global photosynthesis and atmospheric carbon assimilation by plants.

On 19th February, Professor Philip Lewis, Dr. Jose Gomez-Dans, Dr Natasha MacBean (LSCE, Université de Versailles) and Jacques Malaprade joined other scientists collaborating on the project during a meeting at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk (Netherlands). A user consultation meeting is planned for September in Krakow (Poland) to advise the European Space Agency on the selection of the Earth Explorer 8 (EE8) Mission.

The UCL team is contributing expertise in:

(a) vegetation radiative transfer, especially considering the 3D effects of plant canopies on the fluorescence signal;

(b) data assimilation methods and Gaussian processes;

(c) optimisation of global vegetation models using fluorescence.

They are working directly with researchers at LSCE in France, and have increased collaboration with researchers at the Universities of Valencia, as well as at the University of Milan and elsewhere.

The FLEX team are hoping the FLEX mission will be chosen for EE8.


Fluorescence of vegetation cover (C) U. Rascher, Forschungszentrum Jülich

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