Automated geospatial models of varying complexities for pine forest evapotranspiration estimation with advanced data mining
The study goal was to develop automated user-friendly remote-sensing based evapotranspiration (ET) estimation tools: (i) artificial neural network (ANN) based models, (ii) ArcGIS-based automated geospatial model, and (iii) executable software to predict pine forest daily ET flux on a pixel- or plot average-scale. Study site has had long-term eddy-flux towers for ET measurements since 2006. Cloud-free Landsat images of 2006−2014 were processed using advanced data mining to obtain Principal Component bands to correlate with ET data. The regression model’s r2 was 0.58. The backpropagation neural network (BPNN) and radial basis function network (RBFN) models provided a testing/validation average absolute error of 0.18 and 0.15 Wm−2 and average accuracy of 81% and 85%, respectively. ANN models though robust, require special ANN software and skill to operate; therefore, automated geospatial model (toolbox) was developed on ArcGIS ModelBuilder as user-friendly alternative. ET flux map developed with model tool provided consistent ET patterns for landuses. The software was developed for lay-users for ET estimation.