Sun-view angle effects on reflectance factors of corn canopies

K. J. Ranson, C. S.T. Daughtry, L. L. Biehl, M. E. Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


The bidirectional reflectance characteristics of vegetation canopies vary with time of day and through the growing season. In this study the effects of sun and view angles on bidirectional reflectance factors from corn (Zea mays L.) canopies ranging in development from the six leaf stage to harvest maturity were examined. For nadir-acquired reflectance factors there was a strong solar angle dependence in all spectral bands for canopies with low leaf area index (LAI). A decrease in contrast between bare soil and vegetation due to shadows at larger solar zenith angles appeared to be the cause of this dependence. Sun angle dependence was least for well-developed canopies with higher LAI. However, for higher LAI canopies a moderate increase in reflectance factor was observed at larger solar zenith angles and was attributed to the presence of specular reflectance. Trends of off-nadir reflectance factors with respect to sun angle at different view azimuth angles indicated that the position of the sensor relative to the sun was an important factor for determining the angular reflectance characteristics of corn canopies. Reflectance factors were maximized for coincident sun and view angles and minimized when the sensor view direction was towards the sun. View direction relative to row orientation also contributed to the variation in reflectance factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-161
Number of pages15
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1985


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