Routine measurement of spatially averaged surface fluxes of sensible heat (H) in river basins is now feasible. These fluxes, when combined with net radiation estimates, can be used to derive areally averaged actual evapotranspiration (ET). The scintillation method is shown to be promising method for estimating areally averaged sensible heat fluxes. The large aperture scintillometer (LAS) is an optical device used to monitor fluctuations in refractive index of the turbulent atmosphere over a relatively large area. The study reported here has estimated ET fluxes for an area of mixed vegetation at Horana, a field site about 40 km southeast of Colombo, Sri Lanka. ET estimates derived from the scintillometer and net radiometer were compared with estimates obtained from a remote sensing based surface energy balance algorithm for land (SEBAL). The SEBAL estimating of ET were derived using NOAA satellite images without any a priori calibration. The average deviation of ET estimates between SEBAL and LAS for 10-day periods was 17%. However, this deviation fell to 1% when monthly estimates were considered. This suggests regional ET values derived from remote sensing are reasonable estimates, however, the LAS was used in only one agro-ecosystem to validate the SEBAL model. The LAS is a low cost alternative to other methods of estimating heat fluxes for use in basin scale water use studies. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
- sensible heat