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Validation of Sentinel-2, MODIS, CGLS, SAF, GLASS and C3S Leaf Area Index Products in Maize Crops

We proposed a direct approach to validate hectometric and kilometric resolution leaf area index (LAI) products that involved the scaling up of field-measured LAI via the validation and recalibration of the decametric Sentinel-2 LAI product. We applied it over a test study area of maize crops in northern China using continuous field measurements of LAINet along the year 2019. Sentinel-2 LAI showed an overall accuracy of 0.67 in terms of Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) and it was used, after recalibration, as a benchmark to validate six coarse resolution LAI products: MODIS, Copernicus Global Land Service 1 km Version 2 (called GEOV2) and 300 m (GEOV3), Satellite Application Facility EUMETSAT Polar System (SAF EPS) 1.1 km, Global LAnd Surface Satellite (GLASS) 500 m and Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) 1 km V2. GEOV2, GEOV3 and MODIS showed a good agreement with reference LAI in terms of magnitude (RMSE ≤ 0.29) and phenology. SAF EPS (RMSE = 0.68) and C3S V2 (RMSE = 0.41), on the opposite, systematically underestimated high LAI values and showed systematic differences for phenological metrics: a delay of 6 days (d), 20 d and 24 d for the start, peak and the end of growing season, respectively, for SAF EPS and an advance of −4 d, −6 d and −6 d for C3S.