Daily Reference Evapotranspiration for Hyper-Arid to Moist Sub-Humid Climates in Inner Mongolia, China: I. Assessing Temperature Methods and Spatial Variability

Ren X, Martins DS, Qu Z, Paredes P, Pereira LS
Water Resour Manage (2016) 30:37693791 DOI 10.1007/s11269-016-1384-9

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When weather data sets available for computing the reference evapotranspiration are incomplete or of questionable quality, there is the need to replace the FAO Penman-Monteith (PM-ET0) method by approaches requiring reduced sets only, particularly maximum and minimum temperature. The Hargreaves-Samani (HS) equation and the PM-ET0 using only temperature data (PMT) are considered in this study and their results are compared with those of the PM-ET0 using full datasets. Daily data sets refer to the period 19812012 and to a network of 50 meteorological stations covering the wide range of climates of Inner Mongolia. For both the PMT and HS methods, the solar radiation coefficients kRs were calibrated and have shown to be similar for both methods and to vary with climate aridity. For the PMT, the estimation of the dew point temperature (Tdew) was performed using the minimum temperature corrected for site aridity or, for humid climates, from a value near the average temperature. This improved estimation of Tdew was essential for a good performance of the PMT method in arid conditions and when temperatures are extremely low. RMSE <1 mm day⁻¹ was obtained for both HS and PMT methods, and the modeling efficiency generally exceeded 0.85. The worse results correspond to windy and arid locations. The principal components analysis (PCA) in R-Mode have shown that the spatial variability of ET0 computed with PM-ET0 or with the HS and PMT methods were coherent. PCA supported the interpretation of ET0 results. Overall, PMT performed better than HS for most locations.