A novel algorithm to assess gross primary production for terrestrial ecosystems from MODIS imagery

Yuting Yang, Songhao Shang, Huade Guan, Lei Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Quantifying carbon fluxes at large spatial scales has attracted considerable scientific attentions. In this study, a novel approach was proposed to estimate the terrestrial ecosystem gross primary production (GPP) using imagery from the satellite-borne Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor. The new model (named Temperature and Greenness Rectangle, TGR) uses a combination of MODIS Enhanced Vegetation Index and Land Surface Temperature products as well as in situ measurement of photosynthetically active radiation to estimate GPP at a 16 day interval. Three major advantages are included in the model: (1) the model follows strictly the logic of the light use efficiency model and each parameter has physical meaning; (2) the model reduces the dependency on ground-based meteorological measurements; and (3) the overlap of information in correlated explanatory variables is avoided. The model was calibrated with data from 17 sites within the Ameriflux network and validated at another 13 sites, covering a wide range of climates and eight major vegetation types. Results show that the TGR model explains reasonably well the tower-based measurements of GPP for all vegetation types, except for the evergreen broadleaf forest, with the coefficient of determination in a range from 0.67 to 0.91 and the root mean square error from 9.0 to 31.9 g C/m2/16 days. Comparisons with other two models (the TG and GR model) show that the TGR model generally gives better GPP estimates in nearly all vegetation types, especially under dry climate conditions. These results indicate that the TGR model can be potentially used to estimate GPP at regional scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-605
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • gross primary production
  • light use efficiency
  • North America
  • satellite remote sensing


Dive into the research topics of 'A novel algorithm to assess gross primary production for terrestrial ecosystems from MODIS imagery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this