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MODIS observations also allow scientists to track two vital signs of Earths vegetation. At Boston University, a team of researchers is using MODIS data to create global estimates of the green leaf area of Earths vegetation and how much sunlight the leaves are absorbing. Called LAI, for Leaf Area Index, and FPAR, for Fraction of absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation, both pieces of information are necessary for understanding how sunlight interacts with the Earths vegetated surfaces-from the top layer, called the canopy, through the understory vegetation, and down to the ground.
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