Relationship between evapotranspiration and precipitation pulses in a semiarid rangeland estimated by moisture flux towers and MODIS vegetation indices

Academic Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal Of Arid Environments, 2007, 70 (3), pp. 443 - 462
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We used moisture Bowen ratio flux tower data and the enhanced vegetation index (EVI) from the moderate resolution imaging spectrometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite to measure and scale evapotranspiration (ET) over sparsely vegetated grassland and shrubland sites in a semiarid watershed in southeastern Arizona from 2000 to 2004. The grassland tower site had higher mean annual ET (336 mm yr-1) than the shrubland tower site (266 mm yr-1) (P<0.001). ET measured at the individual tower sites was strongly correlated with EVI (r = 0.80-0.94). ET was moderately correlated with precipitation (P), and only weakly correlated with net radiation or air temperature. The strong correlation between ET and EVI, as opposed to the moderate correlation with rainfall, suggests that transpiration (T) is the dominant process controlling ET at these sites.
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