Date of this Version
Scientific Reports (2021) 11:12131
Earth observation has traditionally required a compromise in data collection. That is, one could sense the Earth with high spatial resolution occasionally; or with lower spatial fidelity regularly. For many applications, both frequency and detail are required. Precision agriculture is one such example, with sub-10 m spatial, and daily or sub-daily retrieval representing a key goal. Towards this objective, we produced the first cloud-free 3 m daily evaporation product ever retrieved from space, leveraging recently launched nano-satellite constellations to showcase this emerging potential. Focusing on three agricultural fields located in Nebraska, USA, high-resolution crop water use estimates are delivered via CubeSat-based evaporation modeling. Results indicate good model agreement (r2 of 0.86–0.89; mean absolute error between 0.06 and 0.08 mm/h) when evaluated against corrected fux tower data. CubeSat technologies are revolutionizing Earth observation, delivering novel insights and new agricultural informatics that will enhance food and water security efforts, and enable rapid and informed in-field decision making.