Soil Moisture Estimation in Rangelands Using Remote Sensing (Case Study: Malayer, West of Iran)

Document Type : Research and Full Length Article


1 Malayer University

2 University of Mohaghegh Ardebili


Soil moisture is generally regarded as the limiting factors in rangeland production. Although many studies have been conducted to estimate soil moisture in semiarid areas, there is little information on mountainous rangelands in west of Iran. The present study aims to investigate the soil moisture estimation in rangelands as compared to the other land uses over a mountainous area in central Zagros, Iran using remote sensing. The Surface Energy Balance Algorithm for Land was used to compute actual evapotranspiration (ET) and soil moisture by the means of Landsat8 images of March, April, May, June, July, August and September 2013 for diverse land uses in Malayer, Iran. SEBAL algorithm estimates the ET using net radiation flux, soil heat flux and sensible heat flux. The results showed that there was no significant difference between daily ET computed by SEBAL method and Penn man Monteith. Mean Bias Error (MBE) and Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) for daily and hourly ET were 0.15 and 0.39, respectively. The spatial regression was used to detect the relationship between soil moisture index (SMI) and Temperature dryness vegetation index (TDVI) as dependent variables and daily evapotranspiration (ET24) as independent variable. The results revealed that the correlation between SMI and ET24 was positively significant (0.78 to 0.49) and between TDVI and ET24 was negatively significant (-0.74 to -0.46) during the period of rangeland vegetation growth in this area (March to June). SMI in rangelands had the strongest correlation as compared to the other land uses. Thus, SEBAL model is a robust tool to calculate the soil moisture in rangelands by the means of remote sensing.


Main Subjects

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