The scientific findings of the project were summarized in a scientific article published in the Journal of Remote Sensing.
The Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 satellite constellation contains most of the spatial, temporal and spectral characteristics required for accurate, field-scale actual evapotranspiration (ET) estimation. The one remaining major challenge is the spatial scale mismatch between the thermal-infrared observations acquired by the Sentinel-3 satellites at around 1 km resolution and the multispectral shortwave observations acquired by the Sentinel-2 satellite at around 20 m resolution. In this study we evaluate a number of approaches for bridging this gap by improving the spatial resolution of the thermal images. The resulting data is then used as input into three ET models, working under different assumptions: TSEB, METRIC and ESVEP. Latent, sensible and ground heat fluxes as well as net radiation produced by the models at 20 m resolution are validated against observations coming from 11 flux towers located in various land covers and climatological conditions. The results show that using the sharpened high-resolution thermal data as input for the TSEB model is a sound approach with relative root mean square error of instantaneous latent heat flux of around 30% in agricultural areas. The proposed methodology is a promising solution to the lack of thermal data with high spatio-temporal resolution required for field-scale ET modelling and can fill this data gap until next generation of thermal satellites are launched.
The article is published as open access and full text is available from the Journal of Remote Sensing page: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/12/9/1433