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A critical analysis of three remote sensing-based actual evapotranspiration assessment methods over sparse crops agricultural areas

  • Autori: Cammalleri, C.; Ciraolo, G.; LA LOGGIA, G.; Minacapilli, M.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2010
  • Tipologia: Proceedings (TIPOLOGIA NON ATTIVA)
  • Parole Chiave: actual evapotranspiration, residual surface energy balance models, airborne images
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During last two decades the increasing availability of remotely sensed acquisitions in the thermal infrared part of the spectrum has encouraged hydrologist community to develop models and methodologies based on these kind of data. The aim of this paper is to compare three methods developed to assess the actual evapotranspiration spatial distribution by means of remote sensing data. The comparison was focused on the differences between the “single” (SEBAL) and “two” source (TSEB) surface energy balance approaches and the S-SEBI semi-empirical method. The first assumes a semiempirical internal calibration for the sensible heat flux assessment; the second uses a physically based approach in order to assess separately the soil and vegetation fluxes. Finally, the last one is based on the correlation between albedo and surface temperature for evaporative fraction estimations. The models were applied using 7 high resolution images, collected by an airborne platform between June and October 2008, approximately every 3 weeks. The acquired data include multi-spectral images (red, green and near infrared) and thermal infrared images for surface temperature estimation. The study area, located in the south-west cost of Sicily (Italy), is characterised by the presence of typical Mediterranean cultivations: olive, vineyard and citrus. Due to irrigation supplies and rainfall events, the water availability for the crops varies in time and this allowed to perform the comparison in a wide range of the modelled variables. Additionally, the availability of high spatial resolution images allowed the testing of the models performances at field scale despite the high vegetation fragmentation of the study area. The comparison of models performance highlights a good agreements of model estimations, analyzed by means of MAD (Mean Absolute Differences) and MAPD (Mean Absolute Percent Differences) indices, especially in terms of study area averaged fluxes. The analysis in correspondence of various crop fields highlights higher differences for low vegetation coverage and for scarce water availability.