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Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

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Journal of Hydrometeorology





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A satellite-based potential evapotranspiration (PET) estimate derived from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) observations was tested for input to the spatially lumped and gridded Sacramento Soil Moisture Accounting (SAC-SMA) model. The 15 forecast points within the National Weather Service (NWS) North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC) forecasting region were the basis for this analysis. Through a series of case studies, the MODIS-derived PET estimate (M-PET) was evaluated for input to the SAC-SMA model by comparing streamflow simulations with those from traditional SAC-SMA evapotranspiration (ET) demand. Two prior studies have evaluated the M-PET data 1) to compute new long-term average ET demand values and 2) to input a time series (i.e., daily time-varying PET) to the NWS Hydrology Laboratory–Research Distributed Hydrologic Model (HL-RDHM), a spatially distributed version of the SAC-SMA model. This current paper presents results from a third test in which the M-PET time series is input to the lumped SAC-SMA model. In all cases, evaluation is between the M-PET data and the long-term average values used by the NWS. Similar to prior studies, results of the current analysis are mixed with improved model evaluation statistics for 4 of 15 basins tested. Of the three cases, using the time-varying M-PET as input to the distributed SAC-SMA model led to the most promising results, with model simulations that are at least as good as those when using the SAC-SMA ET demand. Analyses of the model-simulated ET suggest that the time-varying M-PET input may produce a more physically realistic representation of ET processes in both the lumped and distributed versions of the SAC-SMA model.


This article is published as Bowman, Angela L., Kristie J. Franz, and Terri S. Hogue. "Case Studies of a MODIS-Based Potential Evapotranspiration Input to the Sacramento Soil Moisture Accounting Model." Journal of Hydrometeorology 18, no. 1 (2017): 151-158. DOI: 10.1175/JHM-D-16-0214.1. Posted with permission.

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American Meteorological Society



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