Estimating the phenological dynamics of irrigated rice leaf area index using the combination of PROSAIL and Gaussian Process Regression

Oluseun Adeluyi, Angela Harris, Jochem Verrelst, Timothy Foster, Gareth Clay

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Abstract

The growth of rice is a sequence of three different phenological phases. This sequence of change in rice phenology implies that the condition of the plant during the vegetative phase relates directly to the health of leaves functioning during the reproductive and ripening phases. As such, accurate monitoring is important towards understanding rice growth dynamics. Leaf Area Index (LAI) is an important indicator of rice yields and the availability of this information during key phenological phases can support more informed farming decisions. Satellite remote sensing has been adopted as a proxy to field measurements of LAI and with the launch of freely available high resolution Satellite images such as Sentinel-2, it is imperative that accurate retrieval methods are adopted towards monitoring LAI at irrigated rice fields. Here, we evaluate the potential of a hybrid radiative transfer model (i.e., PROSAIL - Gaussian Process Regression (GPR), for estimating the phenological dynamics of irrigated rice LAI using imager derived from the Sentinel-2 multispectral instrument. LAI field measurements were obtained from an experimental rice field in Nasarawa state, Nigeria during the dry season. We used the PROSAIL radiative transfer model to create a look up table (LUT) that was subsequently used to train a GPR model. Afterwards, we evaluated the potential of the hybrid modelling approach by assessing the overall model accuracy and the extent to which LAI was able to accurately predict LAI during key rice phenological phases. We compared the predicted hybrid GPR LAI values with LAI values generated from the SNAP toolbox, based on a hybrid Artificial Neural Network (ANN) modelling approach. Our results show that the overall predictive accuracy of the hybrid GPR model (R2 = 0.82, RMSE = 1.65) was more accurate than that of the hybrid ANN model (R2 = 0.66, RMSE = 3.89) for retrieving LAI values from Sentinel-2 imagery. Both models underestimated LAI values during the reproductive and ripening phases . However, the accuracy during the phenological phases were more significant when using the hybrid GPR model (P < 0.05). During the different phenological phases, the hybrid GPR model predicted LAI more accurately during the reproductive (R2 = 0.7) and ripening (R2 = 0.59) phases compared to the hybrid ANN reproductive and ripening phases. When monitoring LAI phenological profiles of both hybrid models, the hybrid GPR and ANN models underestimated LAI during the reproductive and ripening phases. However, the ANN model underestimations were statistically significantly greater than those for the hybrid GPR model (P < 0.05). Our results highlight the potential of hybrid GPR models for estimating the phenological dynamics of irrigated rice LAI from Sentinel-2 data. They provided more accurate estimation of LAI patterns from varying nitrogen and water applications than hybrid ANN models.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102454
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Volume102
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2021

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