Estimation of regional evapotranspiration over the North China Plain using geostationary satellite data

Yunqiao Shu, Simon Stisen, Karsten H. Jensen, Inge Sandholt

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Data from the first operational Chinese geostationary satellite Fengyun-2C (FY-2C) satellite are applied in combination with Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite products for the assessment of regional evapotranspiration over the North China Plain. The approach is based on the improved triangle method, where the temperature-vegetation index space includes thermal inertia. Two thermal infrared channels from FY-2C are used to estimate surface temperature (Ts) based on a split window algorithm originally proposed for the MSG-SEVIRI sensor. Subsequently the high temporal resolution of FY-2C data is exploited to give the morning rise in Ts. Combined with the 16 days composite MODIS vegetation indices product (MOD13) at a spatial resolution of 5 km, evaporative fraction (EF) is estimated by interpolation in the Delta Ts-NDVI triangular-shaped scatter space. Finally, regional actual evapotranspiration (ET) is derived from the evaporative fraction and available energy estimated from MODIS surface albedo products MCD43. Spatial variations of estimated surface variables (Ts, EF and Er) corresponded well to land cover patterns and farmland management practices. Estimated ET and EF also compared well to lysimeter data collected for the period June 2005-September 2007. The improved triangle method was also applied to MODIS products for comparison. Estimates based on FY-2C products proved to provide slightly better results than those based on MODIS products. The consistency of the estimated spatial variation with other spatial data supports the use of FY-2C data for Er estimation using the improved triangle method. Of particular value is the high temporal frequency of image acquisitions from FY-2C which improves the likelihood of obtaining cloud free image acquisitions as compared to polar orbiting sensors like MODIS. (c) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)192-206
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Evapotranspiration
  • FY-2C
  • MODIS products
  • North China Plain (NCP)
  • NDVI
  • Surface temperature
  • Triangle method


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