SENTIFLEX: Fluorescence-based Photosynthesis Estimates for Vegetation Productivity Monitoring from Space
SENTIFLEX is a research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant 2018-2022, and directed by Dr. Jochem Verrelst at the Universitat de València, Spain. SENTIFLEX is framed within the developments of ESA’s 8th Earth Explorer FLuorescence EXplorer (FLEX) mission that is specifically designed to globally measure Sun-Induced chlorophyll Fluorescence (SIF) emission from terrestrial vegetation. By global anthropogenic changes, including rising population, increased protein demands and climatic extremes, agricultural production undergoes an increasing pressure. Because of the immediate and dynamic nature of these changes, vegetation productivity monitoring measures are urgently needed to ensure both the stability and continued increase of the global food supply. In response to that, SENTIFLEX is dedicated to develop a European vegetation productivity monitoring facility based on the synergy of Sentinel-3 with FLEX satellite fluorescence data. These two European Earth observation missions offer immense possibilities to increase our knowledge of the basic functioning of the Earth’s vegetation, i.e., the photosynthetic activity of plants resulting in carbon fixation. Two complementary approaches are envisioned to realize quantification of photosynthesis through satellite SIF and Sentinel-3. First, SENTIFLEX seeks to advance the science in establishing and consolidating relationships between canopy-leaving SIF and unbiased estimates of photosynthesis of the plants, thereby disentangling the role of dynamic vegetative and atmospheric variables. Second, consolidated relationships between SIF and photosynthesis will be used to build a FLEX-Sentinel-3 data processing assimilation scheme through process-based vegetation models that will deliver spatiotemporally highly resolved information on Europe’s vegetation productivity. All these datasets will be streamlined into a prototype vegetation productivity monitoring facility. Eventually, the monitoring facility aims to serve dynamic vegetation and crop-growth systems.