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Estimating actual evapotranspiration over croplands using vegetation index methods and dynamic harvested area

December 20, 2021
Advances in estimating actual evapotranspiration (ETa) with remote sensing (RS) have contributed to improving hydrological, agricultural, and climatological studies. In this study, we evaluated the applicability of Vegetation-Index (VI) -based ETa (ET-VI) for mapping and monitoring drought in arid agricultural systems in a region where a lack of ground data hampers ETa work. To map ETa (2000–2019), ET-VIs were translated and localized using Landsat-derived 3- and 2-band Enhanced Vegetation Indices (EVI and EVI2) over croplands in the Zayandehrud River Basin (ZRB) in Iran. Since EVI and EVI2 were optimized for the MODerate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), using these VIs with Landsat sensors required a cross-sensor transformation to allow for their use in the ET-VI algorithm. The before- and after- impact of applying these empirical translation methods on the ETa estimations was examined. We also compared the effect of cropping patterns’ interannual change on the annual ETa rate using the maximum Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) time series. The performance of the different ET-VIs products was then evaluated. Our results show that ETa estimates agreed well with each other and are all suitable to monitor ETa in the ZRB. Compared to ETc values, ETa estimations from MODIS-based continuity corrected Landsat-EVI (EVI2) (EVIMccL and EVI2MccL) performed slightly better across croplands than those of Landsat-EVI (EVI2) without transformation. The analysis of harvested areas and ET-VIs anomalies revealed a decline in the extent of cultivated areas and a loss of corresponding water resources downstream. The findings show the importance of continuity correction across sensors when using empirical algorithms designed and optimized for specific sensors. Our comprehensive ETa estimation of agricultural water use at 30 m spatial resolution provides an inexpensive monitoring tool for cropping areas and their water consumption. 

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Estimating actual evapotranspiration over croplands using vegetation index methods and dynamic harvested area
DOI 10.3390/rs13245167
Authors Neda Abbasi, Hamideh Nouri, Kamel Didan, Armando Barreto Munez, Sattar Chavoshi Borujeni, Hamidreza Salemi, Christian Opp, Stefan Siebert, Pamela L. Nagler
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Remote Sensing
Index ID 70226963
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center