Evaluation of multiple satellite evaporation products in two dryland regions using GRACE

Oliver Lopez, Matthew McCabe, Rasmus Houborg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Remote sensing has become a valuable tool for monitoring the water cycle variables in areas that lack the availability of ground-based measurements. Integrating multiple remote sensing-based estimates of evaporation, precipitation, and the terrestrial water storage changes with local measurements of streamflow into a consistent estimate of the regional water budget is a challenge, due to the scale mismatch among the retrieved variables. Evapotranspiration, including soil evaporation, interception losses and canopy transpiration, has received special focus in a number of recent studies that aim to provide global or regional estimates of evaporation at regular time intervals using a variety of remote sensing input. In arid and semi-arid regions, modeling of evaporation is particularly challenging due to the relatively high role of the soil evaporation component in these regions and the variable nature of rainfall events that drive the evaporation process. In this study, we explore the hydrological consistency of remote sensing products in terms of water budget closure and the correlation among spatial patterns of precipitation (P), evaporation (E) and terrestrial water storage, using P-E as a surrogate of water storage changes, with special attention to the evaporation component. The analysis is undertaken within two dryland regions that have presented recent significant changes in climatology (Murray-Darling Basin in Australia) and water storage (the Saq aquifer in northern Saudi Arabia). Water storage changes were derived from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) spherical harmonic (SH) coefficients. Six remote sensing-based evaporation estimates were subtracted from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP)-based precipitation estimates and were compared with GRACE-derived water storage changes. Our results suggest that it is not possible to close the water balance by using satellite data alone, even when adopting a spherical harmonic filtering approach.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication21st International Congress on Modelling and Simulation
PublisherModelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand
ISBN (Print)978-0-9872143-5-5
StatePublished - Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01


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