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Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetic Radiation (FAPAR)

The Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (FAPAR) is an Essential Climate Variable that serves as an integrated indicator of the status and health of plant canopies. FAPAR plays a critical role in the global carbon cycle and in determining primary productivity of the biosphere. Climate change affects the terrestrial ecosystem dynamics, but few of these dynamics are observable from space. FAPAR is monitored using space remote sensing techniques, allowing high resolution and near-real-time measures of the state and evolution of terrestrial vegetation dynamics.

Pinty B., Clerici M., Andredakis I., Kaminski T., Taberner M., Verstraete M. M., Gobron N., Plummer S., and Widlowski J.-L. Exploiting the MODIS albedos with the Two-stream Inversion Package (JRC-TIP): 2. Fractions of transmitted and absorbed fluxes in the vegetation and soil layers. Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres, 2011, 116 (D09106).

2003 - Present

This indicator shows variations in the vegetation health and / or cover which may be due to other stress factors than rainfall or soil moisture deficits, such as plant diseases. Therefore this indicator must be used jointly with other indicators giving information on the deficit of rainfall and / or soil moisture, in order to determine if the variation in the vegetation response (FAPAR) is linked with a drought event or not.

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