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Vazifedoust, M, van Dam, JC, Bastiaanssen, WGM, Feddes, RA (2009). Assimilation of satellite data into agrohydrological models to improve crop yield forecasts. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, 30(10), 2523-2545.

This paper addresses the question of whether data assimilation of remotely sensed leaf area index and/or relative evapotranspiration estimates can be used to forecast total wheat production as an indicator of agricultural drought. A series of low to moderate resolution MODIS satellite data of the Borkhar district, Isfahan (Iran) was converted into both leaf area index and relative evapotranspiration using a land surface energy algorithm for the year 2005. An agrohydrological model was then implemented in a distributed manner using spatial information of soil types, land use, groundwater and irrigation on a raster basis with a grid size of 250m, i.e. moderate resolution. A constant gain Kalman filter data assimilation algorithm was used for each data series to correct the internal variables of the distributed model whenever remotely sensed data were available. Predictions for 1 month in advance using simulations with assimilation at a regional scale were very promising with respect to the statistical data (bias=+/- 10%). However, longer-term predictions, i.e. 2 months in advance, resulted in a higher bias between the simulated and statistical data. The introduced methodology can be used as a reliable tool for assessing the impacts of droughts in semi-arid regions.



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