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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(3), 215;

Downscaling of MODIS One Kilometer Evapotranspiration Using Landsat-8 Data and Machine Learning Approaches

Beijing Laboratory of Water Security, Base of the State Key Laboratory of Urban Environment Process & Digital Modeling, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100089, China
School of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan 44919, South Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Richard Gloaguen and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 12 December 2015 / Revised: 22 February 2016 / Accepted: 1 March 2016 / Published: 8 March 2016
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This study presented a MODIS 8-day 1 km evapotranspiration (ET) downscaling method based on Landsat 8 data (30 m) and machine learning approaches. Eleven indicators including albedo, land surface temperature (LST), and vegetation indices (VIs) derived from Landsat 8 data were first upscaled to 1 km resolution. Machine learning algorithms including Support Vector Regression (SVR), Cubist, and Random Forest (RF) were used to model the relationship between the Landsat indicators and MODIS 8-day 1 km ET. The models were then used to predict 30 m ET based on Landsat 8 indicators. A total of thirty-two pairs of Landsat 8 images/MODIS ET data were evaluated at four study sites including two in United States and two in South Korea. Among the three models, RF produced the lowest error, with relative Root Mean Square Error (rRMSE) less than 20%. Vegetation greenness related indicators such as Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI), Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI), and vegetation moisture related indicators such as Normalized Difference Infrared Index—Landsat 8 OLI band 7 (NDIIb7) and Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) were the five most important features used in RF model. Temperature-based indicators were less important than vegetation greenness and moisture-related indicators because LST could have considerable variation during each 8-day period. The predicted Landsat downscaled ET had good overall agreement with MODIS ET (average rRMSE = 22%) and showed a similar temporal trend as MODIS ET. Compared to the MODIS ET product, the downscaled product demonstrated more spatial details, and had better agreement with in situ ET observations (R2 = 0.56). However, we found that the accuracy of MODIS ET was the main control factor of the accuracy of the downscaled product. Improved coarse-resolution ET estimation would result in better finer-resolution estimation. This study proved the potential of using machine learning approaches for ET downscaling considering their effectiveness and ease of implementation. Future research includes development of the spatial-temporal fusion models of Landsat data and MODIS ET in order to increase temporal resolution of downscaled ET. View Full-Text
Keywords: evapotranspiration; downscaling; MOD16 ET product; Landsat 8; machine learning evapotranspiration; downscaling; MOD16 ET product; Landsat 8; machine learning

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Ke, Y.; Im, J.; Park, S.; Gong, H. Downscaling of MODIS One Kilometer Evapotranspiration Using Landsat-8 Data and Machine Learning Approaches. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 215.

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