Spatial and temporal patterns of land surface fluxes from remotely sensed surface temperatures within an uncertainty modelling framework
Abstract. Characterising the development of evapotranspiration through time is a difficult task, particularly when utilising remote sensing data, because retrieved information is often spatially dense, but temporally sparse. Techniques to expand these essentially instantaneous measures are not only limited, they are restricted by the general paucity of information describing the spatial distribution and temporal evolution of evaporative patterns. In a novel approach, temporal changes in land surface temperatures, derived from NOAA-AVHRR imagery and a generalised split-window algorithm, are used as a calibration variable in a simple land surface scheme (TOPUP) and combined within the Generalised Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation (GLUE) methodology to provide estimates of areal evapotranspiration at the pixel scale. Such an approach offers an innovative means of transcending the patch or landscape scale of SVAT type models, to spatially distributed estimates of model output. The resulting spatial and temporal patterns of land surface fluxes and surface resistance are used to more fully understand the hydro-ecological trends observed across a study catchment in eastern Australia. The modelling approach is assessed by comparing predicted cumulative evapotranspiration values with surface fluxes determined from Bowen ratio systems and using auxiliary information such as in-situ soil moisture measurements and depth to groundwater to corroborate observed responses.