Irrigation Science

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 511–522 | Cite as

Assessment of vineyard water status variability by thermal and multispectral imagery using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)

  • Javier Baluja
  • Maria P. Diago
  • Pedro Balda
  • Roberto Zorer
  • Franco Meggio
  • Fermin Morales
  • Javier TardaguilaEmail author
Original Paper


The goal of this study was to assess the water status variability of a commercial rain-fed Tempranillo vineyard (Vitis vinifera L.) by thermal and multispectral imagery using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The relationships between aerial temperatures or indices derived from the imagery and leaf stomatal conductance (g s) and stem water potential (Ψstem) were determined. Aerial temperature was significantly correlated with g s (R 2 = 0.68, p < 0.01) and Ψstem (R 2 = 0.50, p < 0.05). Furthermore, the thermal indices derived from aerial imagery were also strongly correlated with Ψstem and g s. Moreover, different spectral indices were related to vineyard water status, although NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) and TCARI/OSAVI (ratio between transformed chlorophyll absorption in reflectance and optimized soil-adjusted vegetation index) showed the highest coefficient of determination with Ψstem (R 2 = 0.68, p < 0.05) and g s (R 2 = 0.84, p < 0.05), respectively. While the relationship with thermal imagery and water status parameters could be considered as a short-term response, NDVI and TCARI/OSAVI indices were probably reflecting the result of cumulative water deficits, hence a long-term response. In conclusion, thermal and multispectral imagery using an UAV allowed assessing and mapping spatial variability of water status within the vineyard.


Normalize Difference Vegetation Index Stomatal Conductance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Canopy Temperature Thermal Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by the Agencia de Desarrollo Económico de La Rioja (ADER) with the Project TELEVITIS 2008-I-ID-00123. The authors want to thank Domecq Bodegas allowing the execution of this study in their commercial vineyard. Gratefulness also to Dr. Pablo Zarco-Tejada and Dr. Guadalupe Sepulcre-Cantó for their collaboration and advice on this study. Also, the authors wish to acknowledge the Quantalab (IAS, CSIC) participation in the UAV flights. Also, the authors want to thank Markus Metz for the support provided with r.watershed algorithm and the PGIS team (FEM, IASMA), particularly Markus Neteler, for the support with GRASS GIS. Fermín Morales thanks Gobierno de Aragón (A03 research group) for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Baluja
    • 1
  • Maria P. Diago
    • 1
  • Pedro Balda
    • 1
  • Roberto Zorer
    • 2
  • Franco Meggio
    • 3
  • Fermin Morales
    • 4
  • Javier Tardaguila
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciencias de la Vid y del VinoUniversity of La Rioja, CSIC, Gobierno de La RiojaLogroñoSpain
  2. 2.GIS and Remote Sensing Unit, Biodiversity and Molecular Ecology Department—DBEMIASMA Research and Innovation CentreSan Michele all’AdigeItaly
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Agronomy and Crop ScienceUniversity of PadovaLegnaroItaly
  4. 4.Department of Plant Nutrition, Experimental Station of Aula DeiCSICZaragozaSpain

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