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Evapotranspiration from an Olive Orchard using Remote Sensing-Based Dual Crop Coefficient Approach

Abstract

A remote sensing-based approach to estimate actual evapotranspiration (ET) was tested in an area covered by olive trees and characterized by Mediterranean climate. The methodology is a modified version of the standard FAO-56 dual crop coefficient procedure, in which the crop potential transpiration, T p, is obtained by directly applying the Penman-Monteith (PM) equation with actual canopy characteristics (i.e., leaf area index, albedo and canopy height) derived from optical remote sensing data. Due to the minimum requirement of in-situ ancillary inputs, the methodology is suitable also for applications on large areas where the use of tabled crop coefficient values become problematic, due to the need of corrections for specific crop parameters, i.e., percentage of ground cover, crop height, phenological cycles, etc. The methodology was applied using seven airborne remote sensing images acquired during spring-autumn 2008. The estimates based on PM approach always outperforms the ones obtained using simple crop coefficient constant values. Additionally, the comparison of simulated daily evapotranspiration and transpiration with the values observed by eddy correlation and sap flow techniques, respectively, shows a substantial agreement during both dry and wet days with an accuracy in the order of 0.5 and 0.3 mm d−1, respectively. The obtained results suggest the capability of the proposed approach to correctly partition evaporation and transpiration components during both the irrigation season and rainy period also under conditions of significant reduction of actual ET from the potential one.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the SIAS (Servizio Informativo Agrometeorologico Siciliano) of the Assessorato Agricoltura e Foreste della Regione Siciliana for providing the meteorological dataset, the “Azienda Agricola Rocchetta di Angela Consiglio” for kindly hosting the experiment. This work was partially funded by the DIFA projects of the Sicilian Regional Government within the Accordo di Programma Quadro “Società dell’Informazione”.

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Correspondence to C. Cammalleri.

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Cammalleri, C., Ciraolo, G., Minacapilli, M. et al. Evapotranspiration from an Olive Orchard using Remote Sensing-Based Dual Crop Coefficient Approach. Water Resour Manage 27, 4877–4895 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-013-0444-7

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Keywords

  • Plant transpiration
  • Optical remote sensing
  • Dual crop coefficient
  • Actual evapotranspiration