Conversion - Instantaneous PPFD to Integrated PPFD

Most light meters measure the instantaneous photosynthetic photon flux density in µmol m-2 s-1 and yet plant growth is determined by the integrated daily photosynthetic photon flux density in mol m-2 d-1.

Here is how to convert from µmol m-2 s-1 to mol m-2 d-1 when using electric lights.

There are 3600 seconds in an hour. If the electric light output is constant, the instantaneous PPFD can be added up (integrated) over an hour.

Therefore 1 µmol m-2 s-1 = 3600 µmol m-2 h-1.

This must be divided by a million(106) to convert from micromoles to moles: 3600 µmol m-2 h-1 = 0.0036 mol m-2 h-1.

If the electric lights are on continuously (24 hours), the hourly PPFD must be multiplied by 24 to get the daily PPFD: 0.0036 mol m-2 h-1 = 0.0864 mol m-2 d-1.

There are 86,400 seconds in a day (3600 x 24 hours) so the daily PPFD can be calculated directly from the instantaneous PPFD from the following equation: µmol m-2 s-1 multiplied by 86,400 and divided by 106 = mol m-2 d-1.

So: 1 µmol m-2 s-1 = 0.0864 mol m-2 d-1 with continuous light

These conversions are accurate only under electric lights. The integrated daily PPFD from sunlight changes during the day so a single measurement cannot be used to estimate daily PPFD.

Daily PPFD Reference Table

24-Hour Photoperiod

Instantaneous PPFD
(µmol m-2 s-1)
Daily PPFD
(mol m-2 d-1)
10 0.864
100 8.64
200 17.28
300 25.92
*600 *51.84
1000 86.40
2000 172.80

16-Hour Photoperiod

Instantaneous PPFD
(µmol m-2 s-1)
Daily PPFD
(mol m-2 d-1)
10 0.567
100 5.67
200 11.52
300 17.28
600 34.58
*1000 *57.60
2000 115.20

12-Hour Photoperiod

Instantaneous PPFD
(µmol m-2 s-1)
Daily PPFD
(mol m-2 d-1)
10 0.432
100 4.32
200 8.64
300 12.96
600 25.92
1000 43.20
*1300 *56.23
2000 86.40
*There are 50 to 60 moles per m2 day on sunny summer days in outside areas without any shade.