### Abstract

Under simplifying conditions catchment-scale vapor pressure at the drying land surface can be calculated as a function of its watershed-representative temperature (<T_{s}>) by the wet-surface equation (WSE, similar to the wet-bulb equation in meteorology for calculating the dry-bulb thermometer vapor pressure) of the Complementary Relationship of evaporation. The corresponding watershed ET rate, <ET>, is obtained from the Bowen ratio with the help of air temperature, humidity and percent possible sunshine data. The resulting (<T_{s}>,<ET>) pair together with the wet-environment surface temperature (<T_{ws}>) and ET rate (ET_{w}), obtained by the Priestley-Taylor equation, define a linear transformation on a monthly basis by which spatially distributed ET rates can be estimated as a sole function of MODIS daytime land surface temperature, T _{s}, values within the watershed. The linear transformation preserves the mean which is highly desirable. <T_{ws}>, in the lack of significant open water surfaces within the study watershed (Elkhorn, Nebraska), was obtained as the mean of the smallest MODIS T_{s} values each month. The resulting period-averaged (2000-2007) catchment-scale ET rate of 624 mm/yr is very close to the water-balance derived ET rate of about 617 mm/yr. The latter is a somewhat uncertain value due to the effects of (a) observed groundwater depletion of about 1m over the study period caused by extensive irrigation, and; (b) the uncertain rate of net regional groundwater supply toward the watershed. The spatially distributed ET rates correspond well with soil/aquifer properties and the resulting land use type (i.e. rangeland versus center-pivot irrigated crops).

Original language | English |
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Pages (from-to) | 629-637 |

Number of pages | 9 |

Journal | Hydrology and Earth System Sciences |

Volume | 13 |

Issue number | 5 |

DOIs | |

Publication status | Published - 2009 |

### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Water Science and Technology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)