Scintillometer networks for calibration and validation of energy balance and soil moisture remote sensing algorithms
Gómez Vélez, Jesús
Moreno Ramírez, Hernán
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Accurate estimation of sensible and latent heat fluxes as well as soil moisture from remotely sensed satellite images poses a great challenge. Yet, it is critical to face this challenge since the estimation of spatial and temporal distributions of these parameters over large areas is impossible using only ground measurements. A major difficulty for the calibration and validation of operational remote sensing methods such as SEBAL, METRIC, and ALEXI is the ground measurement of sensible heat fluxes at a scale similar to the spatial resolution of the remote sensing image. While the spatial length scale of remote sensing images covers a range from 30 m (LandSat) to 1000 m (MODIS) direct methods to measure sensible heat fluxes such as eddy covariance (EC) only provide point measurements at a scale that may be considerably smaller than the estimate obtained from a remote sensing method. The Large Aperture scintillometer (LAS) flux footprint area is larger (up to 5000 m long) and its spatial extent better constraint than that of EC systems. Therefore, scintillometers offer the unique possibility of measuring the vertical flux of sensible heat averaged over areas comparable with several pixels of a satellite image (up to about 40 Landsat thermal pixels or about 5 MODIS thermal pixels). The objective of this paper is to present our experiences with an existing network of seven scintillometers in New Mexico and a planned network of three scintillometers in the humid tropics of Panama and Colombia.