Predicting evapotranspiration from drone-based thermography – a method comparison in a tropical oil palm plantation

Ellsäßer, Florian; Stiegler, Christian; Röll, Alexander; June, Tania; Hendrayanto,; Knohl, Alexander; Hölscher, Dirk

For the assessment of evapotranspiration, near-surface airborne thermography offers new opportunities for studies with high numbers of spatial replicates and in a fine spatial resolution. We tested drone-based thermography and the subsequent application of the DATTUTDUT energy balance model using the widely accepted eddy covariance technique as a reference method. The study site was a mature oil palm plantation in lowland Sumatra, Indonesia. For the 61 flight missions, latent heat flux estimates of the DATTUTDUT (Deriving Atmosphere Turbulent Transport Useful To Dummies Using Temperature) model with measured net radiation agreed well with eddy covariance measurements (inline-formular2inline-formula= 0.85; MAE inline-formula= 47; RMSE inline-formula= 60) across variable weather conditions and times of day. Confidence intervals for slope and intercept of a model II Deming regression suggest no difference between drone-based and eddy covariance methods, thus indicating interchangeability. The DATTUTDUT model is sensitive to the configuration of the net radiation assessment. Overall, we conclude that drone-based thermography with energy balance modeling is a reliable method complementing available methods for evapotranspiration studies. It offers promising, additional opportunities for fine grain and spatially explicit studies.

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Ellsäßer, Florian / Stiegler, Christian / Röll, Alexander / et al: Predicting evapotranspiration from drone-based thermography – a method comparison in a tropical oil palm plantation. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Florian Ellsäßer et al.

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