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Operational global actual evapotranspiration: development, evaluation, and dissemination

  • Senay, Gabriel B.
  • Kagone, Stefanie
  • Velpuri, Naga M.
Publication Date
Mar 30, 2020


Satellite-based actual evapotranspiration (ETa) is becoming increasingly reliable and available for various water management and agricultural applications from water budget studies to crop performance monitoring. The Operational Simplified Surface Energy Balance (SSEBop) model is currently used by the US Geological Survey (USGS) Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) to routinely produce and post multitemporal ETa and ETa anomalies online for drought monitoring and early warning purposes. Implementation of the global SSEBop using the Aqua satellite’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land surface temperature and global gridded weather datasets is presented. Evaluation of the SSEBop ETa data using 12 eddy covariance (EC) flux tower sites over six continents indicated reasonable performance in capturing seasonality with a correlation coefficient up to 0.87. However, the modeled ETa seemed to show regional biases whose natures and magnitudes require a comprehensive investigation using complete water budgets and more quality-controlled EC station datasets. While the absolute magnitude of SSEBop ETa would require a one-time bias correction for use in water budget studies to address local or regional conditions, the ETa anomalies can be used without further modifications for drought monitoring. All ETa products are freely available for download from the USGS FEWS NET website. / Peer Review

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