Articles | Volume 30
09 May 2011
 | 09 May 2011

Crop evapotranspiration estimation using remote sensing and the existing network of meteorological stations in Cyprus

G. Papadavid, D. Hadjimitsis, S. Michaelides, and A. Nisantzi

Abstract. Cyprus is frequently confronted with severe droughts and the need for accurate and systematic data on crop evapotranspiration (ETc) is essential for decision making, regarding water irrigation management and scheduling. The aim of this paper is to highlight how data from meteorological stations in Cyprus can be used for monitoring and determining the country's irrigation demands. This paper shows how daily ETc can be estimated using FAO Penman-Monteith method adapted to satellite data and auxiliary meteorological parameters. This method is widely used in many countries for estimating crop evapotranspiration using auxiliary meteorological data (maximum and minimum temperatures, relative humidity, wind speed) as inputs. Two case studies were selected in order to determine evapotranspiration using meteorological and low resolution satellite data (MODIS – TERRA) and to compare it with the results of the reference method (FAO-56) which estimates the reference evapotranspiration (ETo) by using only meteorological data. The first approach corresponds to the FAO Penman-Monteith method adapted for using both meteorological and remotely sensed data. Furthermore, main automatic meteorological stations in Cyprus were mapped using Geographical Information System (GIS). All the agricultural areas of the island were categorized according to the nearest meteorological station which is considered as "representative" of the area. Thiessen polygons methodology was used for this purpose. The intended goal was to illustrate what can happen to a crop, in terms of water requirements, if meteorological data are retrieved from other than the representative stations. The use of inaccurate data can result in low yields or excessive irrigation which both lead to profit reduction. The results have shown that if inappropriate meteorological data are utilized, then deviations from correct ETc might be obtained, leading to water losses or crop water stress.