Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 3167-3182, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-3167-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
08 Aug 2016
Comparison of satellite-based evapotranspiration estimates over the Tibetan Plateau
Jian Peng1, Alexander Loew1,5, Xuelong Chen2, Yaoming Ma3,4, and Zhongbo Su2 1Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
2Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente, Enschede 7500 AE, the Netherlands
3Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
4CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
5Department of Geography, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München (LMU), 80333 Munich, Germany
Abstract. The Tibetan Plateau (TP) plays a major role in regional and global climate. The understanding of latent heat (LE) flux can help to better describe the complex mechanisms and interactions between land and atmosphere. Despite its importance, accurate estimation of evapotranspiration (ET) over the TP remains challenging. Satellite observations allow for ET estimation at high temporal and spatial scales. The purpose of this paper is to provide a detailed cross-comparison of existing ET products over the TP. Six available ET products based on different approaches are included for comparison. Results show that all products capture the seasonal variability well with minimum ET in the winter and maximum ET in the summer. Regarding the spatial pattern, the High resOlution Land Atmosphere surface Parameters from Space (HOLAPS) ET demonstrator dataset is very similar to the LandFlux-EVAL dataset (a benchmark ET product from the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment), with decreasing ET from the south-east to north-west over the TP. Further comparison against the LandFlux-EVAL over different sub-regions that are decided by different intervals of normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI), precipitation, and elevation reveals that HOLAPS agrees best with LandFlux-EVAL having the highest correlation coefficient (R) and the lowest root mean square difference (RMSD). These results indicate the potential for the application of the HOLAPS demonstrator dataset in understanding the land–atmosphere–biosphere interactions over the TP. In order to provide more accurate ET over the TP, model calibration, high accuracy forcing dataset, appropriate in situ measurements as well as other hydrological data such as runoff measurements are still needed.

Citation: Peng, J., Loew, A., Chen, X., Ma, Y., and Su, Z.: Comparison of satellite-based evapotranspiration estimates over the Tibetan Plateau, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 3167-3182, https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-3167-2016, 2016.
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Short summary
The Tibetan Plateau plays a major role in regional and global climate. The knowledge of latent heat flux can help to better describe the complex interactions between land and atmosphere. The purpose of this paper is to provide a detailed cross-comparison of existing latent heat flux products over the TP. The results highlight the recently developed latent heat product – High Resolution Land Surface Parameters from Space (HOLAPS).
The Tibetan Plateau plays a major role in regional and global climate. The knowledge of latent...
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