Brightness-normalized Partial Least Squares Regression for hyperspectral data

Hannes Feilhauer, Gregory P. Asner, Roberta E. Martin, Sebastian Schmidtlein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Developed in the field of chemometrics, Partial Least Squares Regression (PLSR) has become an established technique in vegetation remote sensing. PLSR was primarily designed for laboratory analysis of prepared material samples. Under field conditions in vegetation remote sensing, the performance of the technique may be negatively affected by differences in brightness due to amount and orientation of plant tissues in canopies or the observing conditions. To minimize these effects, we introduced brightness normalization to the PLSR approach and tested whether this modification improves the performance under changing canopy and observing conditions. This test was carried out using high-fidelity spectral data (400-2510. nm) to model observed leaf chemistry. The spectral data was combined with a canopy radiative transfer model to simulate effects of varying canopy structure and viewing geometry. Brightness normalization enhanced the performance of PLSR by dampening the effects of canopy shade, thus providing a significant improvement in predictions of leaf chemistry (up to 3.6% additional explained variance in validation) compared to conventional PLSR. Little improvement was made on effects due to variable leaf area index, while minor improvement (mostly not significant) was observed for effects of variable viewing geometry. In general, brightness normalization increased the stability of model fits and regression coefficients for all canopy scenarios. Brightness-normalized PLSR is thus a promising approach for application on airborne and space-based imaging spectrometer data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1947-1957
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer
Issue number12-13
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Canopy chemistry
  • Imaging spectroscopy
  • PLS
  • Remote sensing
  • Subpixel shade
  • Vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Spectroscopy


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