Estimating crop-specific evapotranspiration using remote-sensing imagery at various spatial resolutions for improving crop growth modelling

G. Sepulcre-Canto, F. Gellens-Meulenberghs, A. Arboleda, G. Duveiller, A.J.W. de Wit, H. Eerens, B. Djaby, P. Defourny

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9 Citations (Scopus)


By governing water transfer between vegetation and atmosphere, evapotranspiration (ET) can have a strong influence on crop yields. An estimation of ET from remote sensing is proposed by the EUMETSAT ‘Satellite Application Facility’ (SAF) on Land Surface Analysis (LSA). This ET product is obtained operationally every 30 min using a simplified SVAT scheme that uses, as input, a combination of remotely sensed data and atmospheric model outputs. The standard operational mode uses other LSA-SAF products coming from SEVIRI imagery (the albedo, the downwelling surface shortwave flux, and the downwelling surface longwave flux), meteorological data, and the ECOCLIMAP database to identify and characterize the land cover. With the overall objective of adapting this ET product to crop growth monitoring necessities, this study focused first on improving the ET product by integrating crop-specific information from high and medium spatial resolution remote-sensing data. A Landsat (30 m)-based crop type classification is used to identify areas where the target crop, winter wheat, is located and where crop-specific Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) (250 m) time series of green area index (GAI) can be extracted. The SVAT model was run for 1 year (2007) over a study area covering Belgium and part of France using this supplementary information. Results were compared to those obtained using the standard operational mode. ET results were also compared with ground truth data measured in an eddy covariance station. Furthermore, transpiration and potential transpiration maps were retrieved and compared with those produced using the Crop Growth Monitoring System (CGMS), which is run operationally by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre to produce in-season forecast of major European crops. The potential of using ET obtained from remote sensing to improve crop growth modelling in such a framework is studied and discussed. Finally, the use of the ET product is also explored by integrating it in a simpler modelling approach based on light-use efficiency. The Carnegie–Ames–Stanford Approach (CASA) agroecosystem model was therefore applied to obtain net primary production, dry matter productivity, and crop yield using only LSA-SAF products. The values of yield were compared with those obtained using CGMS, and the dry matter productivity values with those produced at the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO). Results showed the potential of using this simplified remote-sensing method for crop monitoring
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3274-3288
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • soil-moisture
  • index
  • china


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