On the Use of a Water Balance to Evaluate Inter-annual Terrestrial ET Variability

Han, Eun Jin; Crow, Wade T.; Hain, Christopher R.; Anderson, Martha C.

Accurately measuring interannual variability in terrestrial evapotranspiration ET is a major challenge for efforts to detect trends in the terrestrial hydrologic cycle. Based on comparisons with annual values of terrestrial evapotranspiration derived from a terrestrial water balance analysis, past research has cast doubt on the ability of existing products to accurately capture variability. Using a variety of estimates, this analysis reexamines this conclusion and finds that estimates of variations obtained from a land surface model are more strongly correlated with independently acquired from thermal infrared remote sensing than derived from water balance considerations. This tendency is attributed to significant interannual variations in terrestrial water storage neglected by the water balance approach. Overall, results demonstrate the need to reassess perceptions concerning the skill of estimates derived from land surface models and show the value of accurate remotely sensed ET products for the validation of interannual ET.


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Also Published In

Journal of Hydrometeorology

More About This Work

Academic Units
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
American Meteorological Society
Published Here
August 26, 2016