Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #208430

Title: Surface energy balance based evapotranspiration mapping in the Texas High Plains

item Gowda, Prasanna
item Chavez Eguez, Jose
item Howell, Terry
item MAREK, THOMAS - Texas Agrilife Research
item NEW, LEON - Texas Agrilife Research

Submitted to: Sensors
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/27/2008
Publication Date: 8/28/2008
Citation: Gowda, P., Chavez Eguez, J.L., Howell, T.A., Marek, T.H., New, L.L. 2008. Surface energy balance based evapotranspiration mapping in the Texas High Plains. Sensors. 8:5186-5201. [doi: 10.3390/s8085186]

Interpretive Summary: The Ogallala Aquifer is a major source of water for agriculture, municipal, and industrial development in the Texas High Plains. Therefore, the future economy of the Texas High Plains depends heavily on the sustainability of the fast depleting Ogallala Aquifer. Accurate regional evapotranspiration or crop water use maps would provide valuable information for efficient agricultural water use. In this study, a remote sensing based crop water use estimation model was evaluated. Two Landsat satellite images and ground measurements of soil water content in the central part of the Texas Panhandle were used for this purpose. Estimates of crop water use were compared with ground measurements at four different commercial irrigated fields. Results indicated that the remote sensing model performed well with low crop water use estimation errors.

Technical Abstract: Agriculture on the Texas High Plains (THP) uses approximately 89% of groundwater withdrawals from the Ogallala Aquifer. Consequently, groundwater levels are declining faster than the recharge rate. Therefore, efficient agricultural water use is essential for economic viability and sustainability of the THP.Accurate regional evapotranspiration (ET) mapes would provide valuable information on actual crop water use. In this study, METRIC (Mapping Evapotranspiration at High Resolution using Internalized Calibration), a remote sensing based ET algorithm, was evaluated for mapping ET in the THP. Two Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper images acquired on 27 June (DOY 178) and 29 July (DOY 210) 2005 were used for this purpose. The performance of the ET model was evaluated by comparing the predicted daily ET with values derived from soil moisture budget at four commercial agricultural fields. Daily ET estimates resulted with a prediction error of 12.7 +/- 8.1% (mean bias error +/- root mean square error) on DOY 178 and -4.7 +/- 9.4% on DOY 210 when compared with ET derived from measured soil moisture through the soil water balane. These results are good considering the prevailing advective conditions in the THP. METRIC have the potential to be used for mapping regional ET in the THP region. However, more evaluation is needed under different agroclimatological conditions.