The fraction of photosynthetically active radiation absorbed by vegetation (FAPAR) represents the available light energy for plant productivity and is the key variable influencing photosynthesis, transpiration, and energy balance in most terrestrial vegetation productivity models. With availability of earth observation data from different satellite sensors increasing, a number of FAPAR products are being generated. Several studies have investigated the differences between these products. However, very few studies have investigated how the differences between these products influence the output from ecosystem productivity models that utilise them. This study evaluated the influence of two operational FAPAR products (i.e. the MODIS and CYCLOPES FAPAR products) on the terrestrial vegetation primary productivity predicted by the Carnegie-CASA model across various biomes in the USA. The GPP predicted by the Carnegie-CASA model was compared to GPP measurements from various flux tower sites representing five biomes (i.e. croplands, broadleaf deciduous forests, grassland, needle-leaf evergreen forests, and savanna woodland). With the exception of cropland sites, the two FAPAR products resulted in GPP predictions which were higher than the in situ GPP measurements for the evaluated biomes. However, the CYCLOPES FAPAR product resulted in GPP outputs which were closer (lower RMSE values) to the in situ measurements than the MODIS FAPAR product. The two FAPAR products do not account for the FAPAR absorbed by non-photosynthetic elements of the canopy, which may lead to overestimation of the FAPAR that is actually used in photosynthesis. This could explain the higher GPP values derived using these products when compared to the in situ GPP measurements.
Ogutu, B. O., Dash, J., & Dawson, T. P. (2014). Evaluation of the influence of two operational fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR) products on terrestrial ecosystem productivity modelling. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 35(1), 321-340. https://doi.org/10.1080/01431161.2013.871083