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Estimation of land surface evapotranspiration over complex terrain based on multi‐spectral remote sensing data

Liu, Xingran, Shen, Yanjun, Li, Hongjun, Guo, Ying, Pei, Hongwei, Dong, Wei
Hydrological processes 2017 v.31 no.2 pp. 446-461
altitude, basins, energy, evapotranspiration, gauges, models, mountains, runoff, solar radiation, spatial data, surface temperature, water resources, watersheds, China
Land surface evapotranspiration (ET) plays an important role in energy and water balances. ET can significantly affect the runoff yield of a basin and the available water resources in mountainous areas. The existing models to estimate ET are typically applicable to plains, and excessive data are required to calculate the surface fluxes accurately. This study established a simple and practical model capable of depicting the surface fluxes, while using relatively less parameters. Considering the complex terrain, solar radiation was corrected by importing a series of topographic factors. The water deficit index, a measure of land surface wetness, was calculated by applying the fc (vegetation fractional cover)‐Tᵣₐd (land surface temperature) framework in the two‐source trapezoid model for evapotranspiration model to mountainous areas after corrections of temperature based on altitude variations. The model was successfully applied to the Kaidu River Basin, a basin with few gauges located in the east Tien Shan Mountains of China. Based on the time scale extensions, ET was analyzed at different time scales from 2000 to 2013. The results demonstrated that the corrected solar radiation and water deficit index were reasonably distributed in space and that this model is applicable to ungauged catchments, such as the Kaidu River Basin.