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Open AccessArticle

Estimating Evapotranspiration of an Apple Orchard Using a Remote Sensing-Based Soil Water Balance

1
Centro de Investigación y Transferencia en Riego y Agroclimatología (CITRA), Universidad de Talca, Avenida Lircay sn, Talca 3460000, Chile
2
Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583, USA
3
Escuela de Agronomía, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Calle San Francisco s/n, Quillota 2260000, Chile
4
Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA), Colina San Joaquín sn, La Serena 1720237, Chile
5
Instituto Desarrollo Regional (IDR), Universidad Castilla La Mancha, Campus Universitario sn, Albacete 02071, Spain
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mutlu Ozdogan, Clement Atzberger and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(3), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8030253
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 11 March 2016 / Published: 17 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Precision Agriculture)
The main goal of this research was to estimate the actual evapotranspiration (ETc) of a drip-irrigated apple orchard located in the semi-arid region of Talca Valley (Chile) using a remote sensing-based soil water balance model. The methodology to estimate ETc is a modified version of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) dual crop coefficient approach, in which the basal crop coefficient (Kcb) was derived from the soil adjusted vegetation index (SAVI) calculated from satellite images and incorporated into a daily soil water balance in the root zone. A linear relationship between the Kcb and SAVI was developed for the apple orchard Kcb = 1.82·SAVI − 0.07 (R2 = 0.95). The methodology was applied during two growing seasons (2010–2011 and 2012–2013), and ETc was evaluated using latent heat fluxes (LE) from an eddy covariance system. The results indicate that the remote sensing-based soil water balance estimated ETc reasonably well over two growing seasons. The root mean square error (RMSE) between the measured and simulated ETc values during 2010–2011 and 2012–2013 were, respectively, 0.78 and 0.74 mm·day−1, which mean a relative error of 25%. The index of agreement (d) values were, respectively, 0.73 and 0.90. In addition, the weekly ETc showed better agreement. The proposed methodology could be considered as a useful tool for scheduling irrigation and driving the estimation of water requirements over large areas for apple orchards. View Full-Text
Keywords: apple orchard; water balance; evapotranspiration; crop coefficient; remote sensing; vegetation indices; canopy reflectance; eddy covariance apple orchard; water balance; evapotranspiration; crop coefficient; remote sensing; vegetation indices; canopy reflectance; eddy covariance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Odi-Lara, M.; Campos, I.; Neale, C.M.U.; Ortega-Farías, S.; Poblete-Echeverría, C.; Balbontín, C.; Calera, A. Estimating Evapotranspiration of an Apple Orchard Using a Remote Sensing-Based Soil Water Balance. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 253.

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