Tang, RL; Li, ZL; Chen, KS (2011). Validating MODIS-derived land surface evapotranspiration with in situ measurements at two AmeriFlux sites in a semiarid region. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 116, D04106.
Reducing uncertainties in the estimation of land surface evapotranspiration (ET) from remote-sensing data is essential to better understand earth-atmosphere interactions. This paper demonstrates the applicability of temperature-vegetation index triangle (T(s)-VI) method in estimating regional ET and evaporative fraction (EF, defined as the ratio of latent heat flux to surface available energy) from MODIS/Terra and MODIS/Aqua products in a semiarid region. We have compared the satellite-based estimates of ET and EF with eddy covariance measurements made over 4 years at two semiarid grassland sites: Audubon Ranch (AR) and Kendall Grassland (KG). The lack of closure in the eddy covariance measured surface energy components is shown to be more serious at MODIS/Aqua overpass time than that at MODIS/Terra overpass time for both AR and KG sites. The T(s)-VI-derived EF could reproduce in situ EF reasonably well with BIAS and root-mean-square difference (RMSD) of less than 0.07 and 0.13, respectively. Surface net radiation has been shown to be systematically overestimated by as large as about 60 W/m(2). Satisfactory validation results of the T(s)-VI-derived sensible and latent heat fluxes have been obtained with RMSD within 54 W/m(2). The simplicity and yet easy use of the T(s)-VI triangle method show a great potential in estimating regional ET with highly acceptable accuracy that is of critical significance in better understanding water and energy budgets on the Earth. Nevertheless, more validation work should be carried out over various climatic regions and under other different land use/land cover conditions in the future.