Estimating evapotranspiration using remote sensing and the surface energy balance system - A South African perspective

L. A. Gibson, C. Jarmain, Z. Su, F. E. Eckardt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Remote sensing-based evapotranspiration (ET) algorithms developed in recent years are well suited for estimating evapotranspiration and its spatial trends over time. In this paper the application of energy balance methods in South Africa is reviewed, showing that the Surface Energy Balance Algorithm for Land (SEBAL) model is the most widely used, but highlighting the potentials of the Surface Energy Balance System (SEBS) model. The SEBS model is then reviewed in the international literature and lessons learned from South African examples are expanded upon. The SEBS model has been extensively used for teaching and training purposes and has been applied in research projects across many different environments. However, there are discrepancies in the reported accuracy of the SEBS model due to known model sensitivities. It is therefore recommended that any further research using the SEBS model in South Africa should be limited to agricultural areas where accurate vegetation parameters can be obtained, where high resolution imagery with low sensor zenith angles is available, and where canopy cover is complete.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-484
Number of pages8
JournalWater SA
Volume39
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013

Keywords

  • Evapotranspiration
  • Remote sensing SEBS
  • SEBAL

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