ET-SENSE - High-resolution terrestrial evaporation from Sentinels

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Context and objectives

Terrestrial evaporation (ET) is an essential component of the climate system that links the water and energy cycle. By doing so, it regulates the interaction between land and atmosphere through multiple feedbacks on climate, shaping local precipitation, cloudiness and temperature. Due to the scarcity of in-situ measurements – and the so far unsuccessful attempts to apply traditional optical and infrared techniques to derive ET over large domains, conventional field-scale ET formulations driven by remote sensing data of radiation, temperature and environmental properties have recently been used to develop global ET datasets. However, these global datasets cannot be easily downscaled to the resolution required for local or regional-scale studies, since the meteorological input variables they use are often very coarse. Given these constraints, the following research questions arise: Can current global remote sensing-based evaporation models be used to derive high-resolution retrievals at continental scales? Can those retrievals inform on the variability of root-depth soil moisture and evaporation to local stakeholders? Could these datasets be operationally produced in near-real time? ET–Sense addresses these questions by taking advantage of the high-resolution observations related to a number of geophysical variables provided through the Sentinel satellites and incorporating these into a state-of-the art global evaporation and soil moisture model, namely the Global Land Evaporation Amsterdam Model (GLEAM). By adapting the modelling framework to assimilate the wide palette of Sentinel observations in a novel and innovative way, we will aim at producing, not just ET, but also root-zone soil moisture data. This will be done for the entire Europe, operationally, at high spatial resolution and at daily time scales. This will be the first panEuropean dataset of this nature and will allow us to bring recent research developments from the hydrology and climate community to the actual water management and agricultural needs.

Project outcome

Expected scientific results

New insights into how to combine multiple observations from the Sentinel satellites into a simplified land surface model updating multiple state variables simultaneously.

Societal (including environmental) relevance

High-resolution monitoring of evaporation and soil moisture across Europe will benefit analysis of heat-waves, droughts, wet anomalies as well as improve the overall knowledge of the hydrological cycle.

Expected products and services

High-resolution evaporation and soil moisture across Europe as an operational service.

Potential users

Scientists, water managers, policy makers, large-scale agricultural stakeholders, the interested public.