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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-596
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-596
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 14 Dec 2018

Research article | 14 Dec 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Does NDVI explain spatial and temporal variability in sap velocity in temperate forest ecosystems?

Anne J. Hoek van Dijke1,2,3, Kaniska Mallick1, Adriaan J. Teuling2, Martin Schlerf1, Miriam Machwitz1, Sibylle K. Hassler4, Theresa Blume5, and Martin Herold3 Anne J. Hoek van Dijke et al.
  • 1Environmental Sensing and Modelling, Environmental Research and Innovation Department, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), Belvaux, Luxembourg
  • 2Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • 3Laboratory of Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • 4Institute of Water and River Basin Management, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 5Hydrology Section, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany

Abstract. There is a need for a better understanding of the link between vegetation characteristics and tree transpiration to facilitate satellite derived transpiration estimation. Many studies use the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), a proxy for tree biophysical characteristics, to estimate evapotranspiration. In this study we investigated the link between sap velocity and 30 m resolution Landsat derived NDVI for twenty days during two contrasting precipitation years in a temperate deciduous forest catchment. Sap velocity was measured in the Attert catchment in Luxembourg in 25 plots of 20 × 20 m covering three geologies with sensors installed in 2–4 trees per plot. The results show that sap velocity and NDVI were significantly positively correlated in April, i.e., NDVI successfully captured the pattern of sap velocity during the phase of green-up. After green-up, a significant negative correlation was found during half of the studied days. During a dry period, sap velocity was uncorrelated to NDVI, but influenced by geology and aspect. In summary, in our study area, the correlation between sap velocity and NDVI was not constant, but varied with phenology and water availability. The same behaviour was found for the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI). This suggests that methods using NDVI or EVI to predict small-scale variability in (evapo)transpiration should be carefully applied and that NDVI and EVI cannot be used to scale sap velocity to stand level transpiration in temperate forest ecosystems.

Anne J. Hoek van Dijke et al.
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Anne J. Hoek van Dijke et al.
Anne J. Hoek van Dijke et al.
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Short summary
Satellite images are often used to estimate land water fluxes over a larger area. In this study we investigate the link between a well known vegetation index derived from satellite data and sap velocity in a temperate forest in Luxembourg. We show that the link between the vegetation index and transpiration is not constant. Therefore we suggest that the use of vegetation indices to predict transpiration should be limited to ecosystems and scales where the link has been confirmed.
Satellite images are often used to estimate land water fluxes over a larger area. In this study...
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