Irrigation Science

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 81–90 | Cite as

Evaluating evaporation from field crops using airborne radiometry and ground-based meteorological data

  • Ray D. Jackson
  • M. Susan Moran
  • Lloyd W. Gay
  • Lee H. Raymond


Airborne measurements of reflected solar and emitted thermal radiation were combined with ground-based measurements of incoming solar radiation, air temperature, windspeed, and vapor pressure to calculate instantaneous evaporation (LE) rates using a form of the Penman equation. Estimates of evaporation over cotton, wheat, and alfalfa fields were obtained on 5 days during a one-year period. A Bowen ratio apparatus, employed simultaneously, provided ground-based measurements of evaporation. Comparison of the airborne and ground techniques showed good agreement, with the greatest difference being about 12% for the instantaneous values. Estimates of daily (24 h) evaporation were made from the instantaneous data. On three of the five days, the difference between the two techniques was less than 8%, with the greatest difference being 25%. The results demonstrate that airborne remote sensing techniques can be used to obtain spatially distributed values of evaporation over agricultural fields.


Water Pollution Solar Radiation Vapor Pressure Meteorological Data Thermal Radiation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ray D. Jackson
    • 1
  • M. Susan Moran
    • 1
  • Lloyd W. Gay
    • 2
  • Lee H. Raymond
    • 3
  1. 1.U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research ServiceU.S. Water Conservation LaboratoryPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.School of Renewable Natural ResourcesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  3. 3.U.S. Geological SurveyWater Resources DivisionPhoenixUSA

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