Assimilation of remotely sensed latent heat flux in a distributed hydrological model

J. M. Schuurmans, P. A. Troch, A. A. Veldhuizen, W. G.M. Bastiaanssen, M. F.P. Bierkens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


This paper addresses the question of whether remotely sensed latent heat flux estimates over a catchment can be used to improve distributed hydrological model water balance computations by the process of data assimilation. The data used is a series of NOAA- NOAAAVHRR AVHRR satellite images for the Drentse Aa catchment in the Netherlands for the year 1995. These 1 × 1 km resolution images are converted into latent heat flux estimates using SEBAL (Surface Energy Balance Algorithm for Land [J Hydrol 2000;229:87]). The physically-based distributed model SIMGRO (SIM SIMulation of GRO GROundwater flow and surface water levels [J Hydrol 1997;192:158]) is used to compute the water balance of the Drentse Aa catchment for that same year. Comparison between model-derived and remotely sensed area-averaged evapotranspiration estimates show good agreement, but spatial analysis of the model latent heat flux estimates indicate systematic underestimation in areas with higher elevation. A constant gain Kalman filter data assimilation algorithm is used to correct the internal state variables of the distributed model whenever remotely sensed latent heat flux estimates are available. It was found that the spatial distribution of model latent heat flux estimates in areas with higher elevation were improved through data assimilation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Assimilation of remotely sensed latent heat flux in a distributed hydrological model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this