Accurate and reliable evapotranspiration (ET) datasets are crucial in regional water and energy balance studies. Due to the complex instrumentation requirements, actual ET values are generally estimated from reference ET values by adjustment factors using coefficients for water stress and vegetation conditions, commonly referred to as crop coefficients. Until recently, the modeling of reference ET has been solely based on important weather variables collected from weather stations that are generally located in selected agro-climatic locations. Since 2001, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Global Data Assimilation System (GDAS) has been producing six-hourly climate parameter datasets that are used to calculate daily reference ET for the whole globe at 1-degree spatial resolution. The U.S. Geological Survey Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science has been producing daily reference ET (ETo) since 2001, and it has been used on a variety of operational hydrological models for drought and streamflow monitoring all over the world. With the increasing availability of local station-based reference ET estimates, we evaluated the GDAS-based reference ET estimates using data from the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS). Daily CIMIS reference ET estimates from 85 stations were compared with GDAS-based reference ET at different spatial and temporal scales using five-year daily data from 2002 through 2006. Despite the large difference in spatial scale (point vs. ???100 km grid cell) between the two datasets, the correlations between station-based ET and GDAS-ET were very high, exceeding 0.97 on a daily basis to more than 0.99 on time scales of more than 10 days. Both the temporal and spatial correspondences in trend/pattern and magnitudes between the two datasets were satisfactory, suggesting the reliability of using GDAS parameter-based reference ET for regional water and energy balance studies in many parts of the world. While the study revealed the potential of GDAS ETo for large-scale hydrological applications, site-specific use of GDAS ETo in complex hydro-climatic regions such as coastal areas and rugged terrain may require the application of bias correction and/or disaggregation of the GDAS ETo using downscaling techniques. ?? 2008 American Water Resources Association.
Additional Publication Details
Global daily reference evapotranspiration modeling and evaluation
Journal of the American Water Resources Association