Szilagyi, J, Jozsa, J (2009). Estimating spatially distributed monthly evapotranspiration rates by linear transformations of MODIS daytime land surface temperature data. HYDROLOGY AND EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCES, 13(5), 629-637.
Under simplifying conditions catchment-scale vapor pressure at the drying land surface can be calculated as a function of its watershed-representative temperature (< T-s >) by the wet-surface equation (WSE, similar to the wet-bulb equation in meteorology for calculating the dry-bulb thermometer vapor pressure) of the Complementary Relationship of evaporation. The corresponding watershed ET rate, < ET >, is obtained from the Bowen ratio with the help of air temperature, humidity and percent possible sunshine data. The resulting (< T-s >,< ET >>) pair together with the wet-environment surface temperature (< T-ws >) and ET rate (ETw), obtained by the Priestley-Taylor equation, define a linear transformation on a monthly basis by which spatially distributed ET rates can be estimated as a sole function of MODIS daytime land surface temperature, T-s, values within the watershed. The linear transformation preserves the mean which is highly desirable. < T-ws >, in the lack of significant open water surfaces within the study watershed (Elkhorn, Nebraska), was obtained as the mean of the smallest MODIS T-s values each month. The resulting period-averaged (2000-2007) catchment-scale ET rate of 624 mm/yr is very close to the water-balance derived ET rate of about 617 mm/yr. The latter is a somewhat uncertain value due to the effects of (a) observed groundwater depletion of about 1m over the study period caused by extensive irrigation, and; (b) the uncertain rate of net regional groundwater supply toward the watershed. The spatially distributed ET rates correspond well with soil/aquifer properties and the resulting land use type (i.e. rangeland versus center-pivot irrigated crops).