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Evapotranspiration Estimation using Surface Energy Balance System Model: A Case Study in the Nagqu River Basin

1,2,3,*, 1, 4,5,6, 1, 1 and 1
School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China
CAS Center for Excellence in Comparative Planetology, Hefei 230026, China
Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Climate Change, Nanjing 210023, China
Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(5), 268;
Received: 27 March 2019 / Revised: 2 May 2019 / Accepted: 10 May 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evapotranspiration Observation and Prediction: Uncertainty Analysis)
PDF [1594 KB, uploaded 13 May 2019]


Calculation of actual evapotranspiration (AET) is of vital importance for the study of climate change, ecosystem carbon cycling, flooding, drought, and agricultural water demand. It is one of the more important components in the hydrological cycle and surface energy balance (SEB). How to accurately estimate AET especially for the Tibetan Plateau (TP) with complex terrain remains a challenge for the scientific community. Using multi-sensor remote sensing data, meteorological forcing data, and field observations, AET was derived for the Nagqu river basin of the Northern Tibetan Plateau from a surface energy balance system (SEBS) model. As inputs for SEBS, improved algorithms and datasets for land surface albedo and a cloud-free normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) were also constructed. The model-estimated AET were compared with results by using the combinatory method (CM). The validation indicated that the model estimates of AET agreed well with the correlation coefficient, the root mean square error, and the mean percentage error of 0.972, 0.052 mm/h, and −10.4%, respectively. The comparison between SEBS estimation and CM results also proved the feasibility of parameterization schemes for land surface parameters and AET.
Keywords: actual evapotranspiration; surface energy balance system; Tibetan Plateau actual evapotranspiration; surface energy balance system; Tibetan Plateau
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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Zhong, L.; Xu, K.; Ma, Y.; Huang, Z.; Wang, X.; Ge, N. Evapotranspiration Estimation using Surface Energy Balance System Model: A Case Study in the Nagqu River Basin. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 268.

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