Jiang, CY; Guan, KY; Pan, M; Ryu, Y; Peng, B; Wang, SB (2020). BESS-STAIR: a framework to estimate daily, 30 m, and all-weather crop evapotranspiration using multi-source satellite data for the US Corn Belt. HYDROLOGY AND EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCES, 24(3), 1251-1273.

With increasing crop water demands and drought threats, mapping and monitoring of cropland evapotranspiration (ET) at high spatial and temporal resolutions become increasingly critical for water management and sustainability. However, estimating ET from satellites for precise water resource management is still challenging due to the limitations in both existing ET models and satellite input data. Specifically, the process of ET is complex and difficult to model, and existing satellite remote-sensing data could not fulfill high resolutions in both space and time. To address the above two issues, this study presents a new high spatiotemporal resolution ET mapping framework, i.e., BESS-STAIR, which integrates a satellite-driven water-carbon-energy coupled biophysical model, BESS (Breathing Earth System Simulator), with a generic and fully automated fusion algorithm, STAIR (SaTallite dAta IntegRation). In this framework, STAIR provides daily 30 m multispectral surface reflectance by fusing Landsat and MODIS satellite data to derive a fine-resolution leaf area index and visible/near-infrared albedo, all of which, along with coarse-resolution meteorological and CO2 data, are used to drive BESS to estimate gap-free 30 m resolution daily ET. We applied BESS-STAIR from 2000 through 2017 in six areas across the US Corn Belt and validated BESSSTAIR ET estimations using flux-tower measurements over 12 sites (85 site years). Results showed that BESS-STAIR daily ET achieved an overall R-2 = 0.75, with root mean square error RMSE = 0.93 mm (d(-1) and relative error RE = 27.9 % when benchmarked with the flux measurements. In addition, BESS-STAIR ET estimations captured the spatial patterns, seasonal cycles, and interannual dynamics well in different sub-regions. The high performance of the BESSSTAIR framework primarily resulted from (1) the implementation of coupled constraints on water, carbon, and energy in BESS, (2) high-quality daily 30 m data from the STAIR fusion algorithm, and (3) BESS's applicability under all-sky conditions. BESS-STAIR is calibration-free and has great potentials to be a reliable tool for water resource management and precision agriculture applications for the US Corn Belt and even worldwide given the global coverage of its input data.