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A new method for estimating of evapotranspiration and surface soil moisture from optical and thermal infrared measurements: the simplified triangle

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Earth Observation (EO) provides a promising approach towards deriving accurate spatiotemporal estimates of key parameters characterizing land surface interactions, such as latent (LE) and sensible (H) heat fluxes as well as soil moisture content. This paper proposes a very simple method to implement, yet reliable to calculate evapotranspiration fraction (EF) and surface moisture availability (Mo) from remotely sensed imagery of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and surface radiometric temperature (Tir). The method is unique in that it derives all of its information solely from these two images. As such, it does not depend on knowing ancillary surface or atmospheric parameters, nor does it require the use of a land surface model. The procedure for computing spatiotemporal estimates of these important land surface parameters is outlined herein stepwise for practical application by the user. Moreover, as the newly developed scheme is not tied to any particular sensor, it can also be implemented with technologically advanced EO sensors launched recently or planned to be launched such as Landsat 8 and Sentinel 3. The latter offers a number of key advantages in terms of future implementation of the method and wider use for research and practical applications alike.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, Penn State University, University Park, PA, USA 2: School of Mineral & Resources Engineering, Technical University of Crete, Crete, Greece

Publication date: October 18, 2019

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