A Thermodynamically Based Model for Actual Evapotranspiration of an Extensive Grass Field Close to FAO Reference, Suitable for Remote Sensing Application

de Bruin HAR, Trigo IF, Bosveld FC, Meirink JF
AMS, JHM May 2016,

Download PDF


A thermodynamically based model is presented to estimate daily actual evapotranspiration (ET) of a grass site closely resembling reference grass as defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under nonadvective conditions, from Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) imagery. The model presented here is derived from the thermodynamic theory by Schmidt combined with an atmospheric boundary layer model. Daily net radiation over the (reference) grass surface is parameterized as a function of global radiation, which can be estimated from MSG observations. It is then shown that ET over the grass area can be estimated using remotely sensed daily global radiation and air temperature as input only. The validation relied on observations gathered in Cabauw, a site closely resembling the reference grass, as defined by the FAO. The comparison with in situ data indicated a bias of 2.8 W m-2 and an RMSE of 7.7 W m-2. The possibility of using the approach developed here to provide reference crop evapotranspiration ET0 is discussed. Because of the ambiguousness of ET0 definition regarding local advection effects, it should be noted that explicitly advection-free conditions are dealt with. It is pointed out that in semiarid regions local advection cannot be ignored.