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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(6), 611; doi:10.3390/rs9060611

Satellite-Based Method for Estimating the Spatial Distribution of Crop Evapotranspiration: Sensitivity to the Priestley-Taylor Coefficient

1
Department of Civil Engineering, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Paseo Alfonso XIII, 52, 30203 Cartagena, Spain
2
Department of Food Engineering and Agricultural Equipment, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, P. Alfonso XIII, 48, 30203 Cartagena, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Zhaoliang Li, Yafit Cohen and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 20 February 2017 / Revised: 30 May 2017 / Accepted: 10 June 2017 / Published: 16 June 2017
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Abstract

This work discusses an operational method for actual evapotranspiration (ET) retrieval from remote sensing, considering a minimum quantity of ancillary data. The method consists in a graphical approach based on the Priestley-Taylor (PT) equation, where the dry soil and non-limiting water conditions are defined by land surface temperature (LST) and vegetation index (VI) space, both retrieved from remote sensing. Using ET tower flux measurements and Landsat 5 TM images of an irrigation scheme in southeast Spain, a sensitivity analysis of ET spatial distribution was performed for the period 2009–2011 with respect to: (i) the shape (trapezoidal or rectangular) of the LST-VI space; and (ii) the value of the PT coefficient, α. The results from ground truth validation were satisfactory, both shapes providing similar performances in estimating ET, with root mean square error ~30 W/m2 and relative difference ~10% with respect to tower-based measurements. Importantly, the best fit with ground data was found for α close to 1, a somewhat different value from the commonly used value of 1.27, indicating that substantial error might arise when using the latter value. Overall, our study underlines the importance of a more precise knowledge of the actual value of α coefficient when using ET retrieval methods based on the LST-VI space. View Full-Text
Keywords: semiarid areas; Priestley-Taylor coefficient; sensitivity analysis; Landsat; actual evapotranspiration; irrigation water applied; Spain semiarid areas; Priestley-Taylor coefficient; sensitivity analysis; Landsat; actual evapotranspiration; irrigation water applied; Spain
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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

Martínez Pérez, J.Á.; García-Galiano, S.G.; Martin-Gorriz, B.; Baille, A. Satellite-Based Method for Estimating the Spatial Distribution of Crop Evapotranspiration: Sensitivity to the Priestley-Taylor Coefficient. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 611.

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