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Modelling vegetation canopies through spectral invariant models

UCL remote sensing research presented at Spanish workshop

Modelling vegetation canopies through spectral invariant models

Philip Lewis presented recent research at a workshop on 'hyperspectral data for ecological applications' in Castellon, Spain on 24-25th September 2009. The meeting sought to gather expertise in so-called 'spectral invariant modelling', a new way of expressing the radiation regime of vegetation canopies, with potentially profound implications for remote sensing of vegetation and other media. In essence it expresses scattering and absorption via a power series and then collapses the representation into terms related to the probability of photons re-colliding with, or escaping from, the media.


Recent research has shown how this method can be used to explain more clearly many phenomena observed in remote sensing. Interestingly, it has much common ground with approaches developed in nuclear physics. Lewis outlined the implications of this Department’s recent research and some potential new directions.



  • P. Lewis and M. Disney (2007) Spectral invariants and scattering across multiple scales from within-leaf to canopy, Remote Sensing of Environment 109, 196-206.
  • D. Huang, Y. Knyazikhin, R.E. Dickinson, M. Rautiainen, P. Stenberg, M. Disney, P. Lewis, A. Cescatti, Y. Tian, W. Verhoef, and R.B. Myneni (2007), Canopy spectral invariants for remote sensing and model applications, Remote Sensing of Environment, 106, 106-122.


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