Blatchford, ML; Mannaerts, CM; Njuki, SM; Nouri, H; Zeng, YJ; Pelgrum, H; Wonink, S; Karimi, P (2020). Evaluation of WaPOR V2 evapotranspiration products across Africa. HYDROLOGICAL PROCESSES, 34(15), 3200-3221.

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) portal to monitor water productivity through open-access of remotely sensed derived data (WaPOR) offers continuous actual evapotranspiration and interception (ETIa-WPR) data at a 10-day basis across Africa and the Middle East from 2009 onwards at three spatial resolutions. The continental level (250 m) covers Africa and the Middle East (L1). The national level (100 m) covers 21 countries and 4 river basins (L2). The third level (30 m) covers eight irrigation areas (L3). To quantify the uncertainty of WaPOR version 2 (V2.0) ETIa-WPR in Africa, we used a number of validation methods. We checked the physical consistency against water availability and the long-term water balance and then verify the continental spatial and temporal trends for the major climates in Africa. We directly validated ETIa-WPR against in situ data of 14 eddy covariance stations (EC). Finally, we checked the level consistency between the different spatial resolutions. Our findings indicate that ETIa-WPR is performing well, but with some noticeable overestimation. The ETIa-WPR is showing expected spatial and temporal consistency with respect to climate classes. ETIa-WPR shows mixed results at point scale as compared to EC flux towers with an overall correlation of 0.71, and a root mean square error of 1.2 mm/day. The level consistency is very high between L1 and L2. However, the consistency between L1 and L3 varies significantly between irrigation areas. In rainfed areas, the ETIa-WPR is overestimating at low ETIa-WPR and underestimating when ETIa is high. In irrigated areas, ETIa-WPR values appear to be consistently overestimating ETa. The relative soil moisture content (SMC), the input of quality layers and local advection effects were some of the identified causes. The quality assessment of ETIa-WPR product is enhanced by combining multiple evaluation methods. Based on the results, the ETIa-WPR dataset is of enough quality to contribute to the understanding and monitoring of local and continental water processes and water management.