Evapotranspiration is a reliable indicator of wetland health. Wetlands are an important and valuable ecosystem on the South Florida landscape. Accurate wetland Actual Evapotranspiration (AET) data can be used to evaluate the performance of South Florida’s Everglades restoration programs. However, reliable AET measurements rely on scattered point measurements restricting applications over a larger area. The objective of this study was to validate the ability of the Simplified Surface Energy Balance (SSEB) approach and the Simple Method (also called the Abtew Method) to provide large area AET estimates for wetland recovery efforts. The study used Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor spectral data and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) solar radiation data to derive weekly AET values for South Florida. The SSEB-Simple Method approach provided acceptable results with good agreement with observed values during the critical dry season period, when cloud cover was low (rave
= 59) = 0.700, pave
< 0.0005), but requires further refinement to be viable for yearly estimates because of poor performance during wet season months, mainly because of cloud contamination. The approach can be useful for short-term wetland recovery assessment projects that occur during the dry season and/or long term projects that compare site AET rates from dry season to dry season.
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