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Peng, Jian; Loew, Alexander; Chen, Xuelong; Ma, Yaoming; Su, Zhongbo (2016): Comparison of satellite-based evapotranspiration estimates over the Tibetan Plateau. In: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 20, No. 8: pp. 3167-3182
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Abstract

The Tibetan Plateau (TP) plays a major role in regional and global climate. The understanding of latent heat (LE) flux can help to better describe the complex mechanisms and interactions between land and atmosphere. Despite its importance, accurate estimation of evapotranspiration (ET) over the TP remains challenging. Satellite observations allow for ET estimation at high temporal and spatial scales. The purpose of this paper is to provide a detailed cross-comparison of existing ET products over the TP. Six available ET products based on different approaches are included for comparison. Results show that all products capture the seasonal variability well with minimum ET in the winter and maximum ET in the summer. Regarding the spatial pattern, the High resOlution Land Atmosphere surface Parameters from Space (HOLAPS) ET demonstrator dataset is very similar to the LandFlux-EVAL dataset (a benchmark ET product from the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment), with decreasing ET from the south-east to northwest over the TP. Further comparison against the LandFlux-EVAL over different sub-regions that are decided by different intervals of normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI), precipitation, and elevation reveals that HOLAPS agrees best with LandFlux-EVAL having the highest correlation coefficient (R) and the lowest root mean square difference (RMSD). These results indicate the potential for the application of the HOLAPS demonstrator dataset in understanding the land-atmosphere-biosphere interactions over the TP. In order to provide more accurate ET over the TP, model calibration, high accuracy forcing dataset, appropriate in situ measurements as well as other hydrological data such as runoff measurements are still needed.