1Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, CAS Center for Excellence and Innovation in Tibetan Plateau Earth System Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2Qomolangma Station for Atmospheric Environmental Observation and Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dingri 858200, Tibet, China
3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
4Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
5School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China
Abstract. In this study, a parameterization method based on MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data, AVHRR (Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer) data and in situ data is introduced and tested for estimating the regional evaporative fraction Λ over a heterogeneous landscape. As a case study, the algorithm was applied to the Tibetan Plateau (TP) area. Eight MODIS data images (17 January, 14 April, 23 July and 16 October in 2003; 30 January, 15 April, 1 August and 25 October in 2007) and four AVHRR data images (17 January, 14 April, 23 July and 16 October in 2003) were used in this study to compare winter, spring, summer and autumn values and for annual variation analysis. The results were validated using the "ground truth" measured at Tibetan Observation and Research Platform (TORP) and the CAMP/Tibet (CEOP (Coordinated Enhanced Observing Period) Asia-Australia Monsoon Project (CAMP) on the Tibetan Plateau) meteorological stations. The results show that the estimated evaporative fraction Λ in the four different seasons over the TP is in clear accordance with the land surface status. The Λ fractions show a wide range due to the strongly contrasting surface features found on the TP. Also, the estimated Λ values are in good agreement with "ground truth" measurements, and their absolute percentage difference (APD) is less than 10.0% at the validation sites. The AVHRR data were also in agreement with the MODIS data, with the latter usually displaying a higher level of accuracy. It was therefore concluded that the proposed algorithm was successful in retrieving the evaporative fraction Λ using MODIS, AVHRR and in situ data over the TP. MODIS data are the most accurate and should be used widely in evapotranspiration (ET) research in this region.