Vegetation biophysical variables

Vegetation biophysical variables


The objective of THEIA VarBio experts group is to provide products on France or over a wider coverage for two biophysical variables characteristic of vegetation that have been recognized as ECVs (Essential Climate Variables) by the Global Climate Observing System – GCOS:

  • the Leaf Area Index (LAI) and
  • fAPAR (fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation), as well as the green fraction of vegetation (fCover or Green Fraction).

The product resulting from the VarBio SEC is updated with a frequency of one to 10 days. It has a kilometre (km), hectometre (hm) and decametre (dm) scale, and global coverage. VarBio SEC complements the Copernicus Global Land Service (CGLS) for medium-resolution sensors and toolkits developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) such as the SNAP Toolbox or the SEN2-AGRI system for Sentinel-2.


  • 2015: algorithms and production chains developed for km and hm levels, additional validations for the dm level
  • 2016: development of specific products intended for agricultural areas (wheat, maize, sunflower)
  • 2018 : Prototyping
  • 2019: Integration into the Theia production chain


Frédéric Baret
INRAE | Capte

Marie Weiss