Exploring the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with the simplified ‘triangle’ technique for soil water content and evaporative fraction retrievals in a Mediterranean setting

Gino Dardanelli, Fulvio Capodici, Antonino Maltese, Christos Chalkias, Salvatore Manfreda, Dionissios Hristopulos, George P. Petropoulos, Andrew Pavlides, Toby N. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Information acquired from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is frequently used nowadays in a variety of disciplines and research fields. The present study explores for the first time the combined use of UAVs with a newly proposed technique for estimating evaporative fraction (EF) and surface soil moisture (SSM). The investigation is performed in a typical Mediterranean setting, a citrus field with flat topography divided in two plots with different irrigation schemes, in Sicily, Italy, at which ground data acquired during an extensive field campaign in July 2019. Reasonable estimates of both EF and surface wetness were produced, with patterns in agreement to vegetation cover fragmentation, topography, and other site-specific characteristics. Validation shows average error of 0.053 for EF and of 0.040 cm3 cm−3 for SSM. The results are comparable orbetter to those reported in analogous studies performed in similar areas. This implies that the investigated approach performs well under the semi-arid conditions characterizing the experimental set up. To our knowledge, this study represents the first evaluation of the combined use of the ‘simplified triangle’ with very high-resolution UAV imagery. As such, the findings are of significance regarding the potential future use of the ‘simplified triangle’ approach particularly with very fine resolution imagery such as that provided by UAV for mapping and monitoring EF and SSM in agricultural and natural ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1623-1642
Number of pages20
JournalINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING
Volume42
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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