Theory of radiative transfer models applied in optical remote sensing of vegetation canopies

W. Verhoef

Research output: Thesisexternal PhD, WU


<br/>In this thesis the work of the author on the modelling of radiative transfer in vegetation canopies and the terrestrial atmosphere is summarized. The activities span a period of more than fifteen years of research in this field carried out at the National Aerospace Laboratory NLR.<p>For the interpretation of optical remote sensing observations of vegetation canopies from satellites or aircraft the use of simulation models can be an important tool, as these models give insight in the relations between vegetation properties and observed remote sensing data.<p>The models discussed here are first presented from a theoretical point of view. An attempt has been made to construct a framework in which all the discussed models, for vegetation as well as for the atmosphere, can be represented. After an introduction on basic radiometric quantities and relations (chapter 2), and a classification of radiative transfer models and solution methods (chapter 3), examples of existing models are discussed in chapter 4.<p>In chapter 5 a new generalized theory of radiative transfer models for azimuthally isotropic media is presented, namely the (N+2)-stream theory. This theory describes radiative transfer in vegetation canopies or atmospheres to any desired numerical accuracy. In the formulation of the analytical solution of this model, which is based on eigenvector decomposition, much attention has been paid to possible numerical problems. Symmetry relations are exploited in order to reduce memory requirements and computation time, and expressions have been found for which the so-called reciprocity relations are automatically fulfilled. The numerical capabilities of this model for simulation of atmospheric radiative transfer are demonstrated in chapter 6.<p>The theory of the vegetation canopy bidirectional reflectance models SAIL and SAILH are discussed in chapters 7 and 8. Both are four-stream models. In SAILH the so-called hot spot effect, which is related with the finite leaf size, is incorporated. After these more theoretic chapters, practical aspects of the radiative transfer models are discussed in the following chapters.<p>In chapter 9 the application of a four-stream atmosphere model to the correction and calibration of Landsat Thematic Mapper images is demonstrated. This atmosphere model has been coupled with the SAILH model into an overall four-stream model of optical remote sensing observations from any altitude. This model is called OSCAR (optical soil-canopyatmosphere radiance) and is presented in chapter 10.<p>Applications of radiative transfer modelling to optical remote sensing problems are illustrated in chapter 11, and chapter 12, summarizes the conclusions of this thesis.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Molenaar, M., Promotor
  • Bunnik, N.J.J., Promotor
Award date9 Jan 1998
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789054858041
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • remote sensing
  • absorption
  • reflection
  • plant communities
  • vegetation
  • research
  • applications
  • models


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