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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Research Project #438219

Research Project: ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS)

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-13610-030-026-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 21, 2020
End Date: Jul 31, 2023

The overall objective is to demonstrate applications for the new ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) multi-spectral thermal infrared sensor, proposed for launch on the International Space Station. Land surface temperature maps obtained with ECOSTRESS at high temporal frequency will be used in surface energy balance models to estimate evapotranspiration and used to address science questions relating to water use and climate change by: 1. Identify critical thresholds of water use and water stress in key climate sensitive biomes; 2. Detect the timing, location, and predictive factors leading to plant water uptake decline and/or cessation over the diurnal cycle; and 3. Measure agricultural water consumptive use over the contiguous United States (CONUS) at spatiotemporal scales applicable to improve drought estimation accuracy.

Ecostress thermal imagery at approximately 50-m spatial resolution and 5-day revisit interval will be ingested into existing USDA energy balance models to produce time-series of daily evapotranspiration (water use) at target evaluation sites and climate hot spots within the US and globally. The model estimates will be evaluated for accuracy with respect to ground measurements made in a range of climate and cover conditions. The time series will then be used to investigate variability in water use and water use efficiency across heterogeneous landscapes, and dependence on landcover type and land/water management strategy. The response of vegetation water use under conditions of drought onset, occurring during the ECOSTRESS mission lifetime, will be investigated to identify factors determining resilience to water deficiency (e.g., rooting depth, plant type, access to ancillary moistures sources).