A New Way to Measure Photosynthesis

Friday, October 27, 2017

Thanks to new technology from NASA combined with research from the University of Minnesota, scientists have a new way to measure the plant canopy for productivity. This study was recently published in Science. Instead of greenness, the NASA satellite OCO-2 measures a process that occurs only during photosynthesis, called solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF). Plants take in more solar energy during photosynthesis than they need to grow, and they release a small portion of the excess energy back to the atmosphere in the form of fluorescent light. SIF has been measured before by satellite, but OCO-2 measurements are higher in resolution than any previous dataset. The Biometerology Group from the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate is mentioned.