Operational evapotranspiration estimates from SEVIRI in support of sustainable water management

George Petropoulos, Gareth Ireland, Salim Lamine, Hywel Griffiths, Nicolas Ghilain, Vasileios Anagnostopoulos, Matthew North, Prashant K. Srivastava, Hro Georgopoulou

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This study aimed at evaluating the accuracy of the evapotranspiration (ET) operational estimates from the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) Spinning Enhanced Visible Infra-Red Imager (SEVIRI) at a range of selected ecosystems in Europe. For this purpose in-situ eddy covariance measurements were used, acquired from 7 selected experimental sites belonging to the CarboEurope ground observational network over 2 full years of observations (2010–2011). Appraisal of ET accuracy was also investigated with respect to land cover, season and each site(s) degree of heterogeneity, the latter being expressed by the fractional vegetation cover (FVC) operational product of SEVIRI. Results indicated a close agreement between the operational product’s ET estimates and the tower based in-situ ET measurements for all days of comparison, showing a satisfactory correlation (r of 0.709) with accuracies often comparable to previous analogous studies. For all land cover types, the grassland and cropland sites exhibited the closest agreement (r from 0.705 to 0.759). In terms of seasons the strongest correlations were observed during the summer and autumn (r of 0.714 & 0.685 respectively), and with FVC the highest correlation of 0.735 was observed for the class FVC 0.75-1 when compared against the observed values for the complete monitoring period. Our findings support the potential value of the SEVIRI ET product for regional to mesoscale studies and corroborate its credibility for usage in many practical applications. The latter is of particular importance for water limiting environments, such as those found in the Mediterranean basin, as accurate information on ET rates can provide tremendous support in sustainable water resource management as well as policy and decision making in those areas
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-187
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Early online date05 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2016


  • evapotranspiration
  • ET
  • water management
  • earth observation
  • CarboEurope


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