European Union Projects
Project duration: 
Nov 2016 to Oct 2018

Providing Terrestrial Essential Climate Variables from satellite data.


The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) is the component of the Copernicus European Union’s Earth Observation programme dedicated to provide Essential Climate Variables of the Earth-system components (atmosphere, land, ocean, cryosphere and carbon) to better describe the past, present and future climate. Among those variables related to land surface processes and accessible from remote sensing observations, the albedo, the Leaf Area Index (LAI), the area of leaves per unit ground area, and the Fraction of Photosynthetically Active Radiation Absorbed (FAPAR) by vegetation have been recognized as Essential Climate Variables for their key role in land-atmosphere interactions. They are fundamental terrestrial state variables for quantifying the cycling of water, carbon, nutrients and energy in the Earth system.

CREAF participates in the European consortium for the Production of Terrestrial Essential Climate Variables: Albedo, LAI and FAPAR, within C3S program. CREAF takes the scientific lead in the FAPAR and LAI retrieval. The aim is to provide long-term, continuous, consistent, validated and accurate LAI and FAPAR records from Earth observation data at global scale from 1981 to the present combining AVHRR, VEGETATION, PROBA-V and Sentinel-3 satellite observations. These long time series of LAI and FAPAR will contribute to provide a more realistic description of global climate and vegetation-climate interactions. They will support EU adaptation and mitigation policies in climate change.