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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(4), 307; doi:10.3390/rs9040307

An Intercomparison of Satellite-Based Daily Evapotranspiration Estimates under Different Eco-Climatic Regions in South Africa

1
Earth Observation Group, Natural Resources and Environment, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
2
Department of Water Resources, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente, Enschede NL-7500AE, The Netherlands
3
Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Centre (RVSC), University of Limpopo, Sovenga 0727, South Africa
4
Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
5
Global Change Group, Natural Resources and Environment, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gabriel Senay, Magaly Koch and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 8 January 2017 / Revised: 9 March 2017 / Accepted: 20 March 2017 / Published: 24 March 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4055 KB, uploaded 24 March 2017]   |  

Abstract

Knowledge of evapotranspiration (ET) is essential for enhancing our understanding of the hydrological cycle, as well as for managing water resources, particularly in semi-arid regions. Remote sensing offers a comprehensive means of monitoring this phenomenon at different spatial and temporal intervals. Currently, several satellite methods exist and are used to assess ET at various spatial and temporal resolutions with various degrees of accuracy and precision. This research investigated the performance of three satellite-based ET algorithms and two global products, namely land surface temperature/vegetation index (TsVI), Penman–Monteith (PM), and the Meteosat Second Generation ET (MET) and the Global Land-surface Evaporation: the Amsterdam Methodology (GLEAM) global products, in two eco-regions of South Africa. Daily ET derived from the eddy covariance system from Skukuza, a sub-tropical, savanna biome, and large aperture boundary layer scintillometer system in Elandsberg, a Mediterranean, fynbos biome, during the dry and wet seasons, were used to evaluate the models. Low coefficients of determination (R2) of between 0 and 0.45 were recorded on both sites, during both seasons. Although PM performed best during periods of high ET at both sites, results show it was outperformed by other models during low ET times. TsVI and MET were similarly accurate in the dry season in Skukuza, as GLEAM was the most accurate in Elandsberg during the wet season. The conclusion is that none of the models performed well, as shown by low R2 and high errors in all the models. In essence, our results conclude that further investigation of the PM model is possible to improve its estimation of low ET measurements. View Full-Text
Keywords: latent heat flux; evapotranspiration; remote sensing; eddy covariance; large aperture boundary layer scintillometer latent heat flux; evapotranspiration; remote sensing; eddy covariance; large aperture boundary layer scintillometer
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Majozi, N.P.; Mannaerts, C.M.; Ramoelo, A.; Mathieu, R.; Mudau, A.E.; Verhoef, W. An Intercomparison of Satellite-Based Daily Evapotranspiration Estimates under Different Eco-Climatic Regions in South Africa. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 307.

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