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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-599
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
24 Oct 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Comparison of MODIS and SWAT Evapotranspiration over a Complex Terrain at Different Spatial Scales
Olanrewaju O. Abiodun, Huade Guan, Vincent E. A. Post, and Okke Batelaan National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, Australia
Abstract. In most hydrological systems, evapotranspiration (ET) and precipitation are the largest components of the water balance, which are difficult to estimate, particularly over complex terrain. In recent decades, the advent of remotely-sensed data based ET algorithms and distributed hydrological models has provided improved spatially-upscaled ET estimates. However, information on the performance of these methods at various spatial scales is limited. This study compares the ET from the MODIS remotely sensed ET dataset (MOD16) with the ET estimates from a SWAT hydrological model for the complex terrain of the Sixth Creek Catchment of the Western Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia. The SWAT model analyses are performed on daily timescales with a 6-year calibration period (2000–2005) and 7-year validation period (2007–2013). Differences in ET estimation between the two methods of up to 48 %, 21 % and 16 % were observed at respectively 1 km2, 5 km2 and 10 km2 spatial resolutions. Land cover differences, mismatches between the two methods and catchment-scale averaging of input climate data in the SWAT semi-distributed model were identified as the principal sources of weaker correlations at higher spatial resolution.

Citation: Abiodun, O. O., Guan, H., Post, V. E. A., and Batelaan, O.: Comparison of MODIS and SWAT Evapotranspiration over a Complex Terrain at Different Spatial Scales, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-599, in review, 2017.
Olanrewaju O. Abiodun et al.
Olanrewaju O. Abiodun et al.
Olanrewaju O. Abiodun et al.

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Short summary
In recent decades, evapotranspiration estimation has been improved by remote sensing methods as well as by hydrological models. However, comparing these methods shows differences of up to 48 % at a spatial resolution of 1 km2. Land cover differences and catchment averaged climate data in the hydrological model were identified as the principal causes for the differences in results. Implication is that water management will have to deal with large uncertainty in estimated water balances.
In recent decades, evapotranspiration estimation has been improved by remote sensing methods as...
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