Measuring evaporation (E) with lysimeters is costly and prone to numerous errors. By comparing the
energy balance and the remotely sensed surface temperature of lysimeters with those of the undisturbed surroundings, we were able to assess the representativeness of lysimeter measurements and to quantify differences in evaporation caused by spatial variations in soil moisture content. We used an algorithm (the so called 3T model) to spatially extrapolate the measured E of a reference lysimeter based on differences in surface temperature, net radiation and soil heat flux. We tested the performance of the 3T model on measurements with multiple lysimeters (47.5 cm inner diameter) and micro lysimeters (19.2 cm inner
diameter) installed in bare sand, moss and natural dry grass. We developed different scaling procedures
using in situ measurements and remotely sensed surface temperatures to derive spatially distributed
estimates of Rn and G and explored the physical soundness of the 3T model. Scaling of Rn and G considerably improved the performance of the 3T model for the bare sand and moss experiments (Nash-
Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) increasing from 0.45 to 0.89 and from 0.81 to 0.94, respectively). For the grass surface, the scaling procedures resulted in a poorer performance of the 3T model (NSE decreasing from 0.74 to 0.70), which was attributed to effects of shading and the difficulty to correct for differences in emissivity between dead and living biomass. The 3T model is physically unsound if the field scale average air temperature, measured at an arbitrarily chosen reference height, is used as input to the model. The proposed measurement system is relatively cheap, since it uses a zero tension (freely draining) lysimeter which results are extrapolated by the 3T model to the unaffected surroundings. The system is promising for bridging the gap between ground observations and satellite based estimates of E.
BR Voortman, FC Bosveld, RP Bartholomeus, JPM Witte. Spatial extrapolation of lysimeter results using thermal infrared imaging
published, J. Hydrol., 2016, 543