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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Estimating Actual Evapotranspiration from Satellite and Meteorological Data in Central Bolivia

Guest blogger and former visiting scientist in DAPA Christian Seiler describes his research on evapotranspiration. Christian is a scientist in the Earth System Science and Climate Change Group, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, Netherlands

Actual evapotranspiration is the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the Earth’s land surface to the atmosphere. Spatial estimates of actual evapotranspiration are useful for calculating the water balance of river basins, quantifying hydrological services provided by ecosystems, and for assessing the hydrological impacts of land-use practices. To provide this information, we estimated actual evapotranspiration in central Bolivia with a remote sensing algorithm [Surface Energy Balance Algorithms for Land (SEBAL)]. SEBAL was adapted for the effects of topography (particularly for elevation, slope, and aspect) and atmospheric properties on incoming solar radiation. The required input data consisted of meteorological data and satellite data. Results showed how actual evapotranspiration changed with altitude, ecoregion, land use and land use change. The research was done in 2008 during my stay in CIAT and is now published in the journal of Earth Interactions – American Meteorological Society (AMS). I wish to thank colleagues at DAPA for having supported this research.

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