thumbnail

Estimation of evaporation from open water - A review of selected studies, summary of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data collection and methods, and evaluation of two methods for estimation of evaporation from five reservoirs in Texas

Scientific Investigations Report 2012-5202

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District
By:

Links

Abstract

Organizations responsible for the management of water resources, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), are tasked with estimation of evaporation for water-budgeting and planning purposes. The USACE has historically used Class A pan evaporation data (pan data) to estimate evaporation from reservoirs but many USACE Districts have been experimenting with other techniques for an alternative to collecting pan data. The energy-budget method generally is considered the preferred method for accurate estimation of open-water evaporation from lakes and reservoirs. Complex equations to estimate evaporation, such as the Penman, DeBruin-Keijman, and Priestley-Taylor, perform well when compared with energy-budget method estimates when all of the important energy terms are included in the equations and ideal data are collected. However, sometimes nonideal data are collected and energy terms, such as the change in the amount of stored energy and advected energy, are not included in the equations. When this is done, the corresponding errors in evaporation estimates are not quantifiable. Much simpler methods, such as the Hamon method and a method developed by the U.S. Weather Bureau (USWB) (renamed the National Weather Service in 1970), have been shown to provide reasonable estimates of evaporation when compared to energy-budget method estimates. Data requirements for the Hamon and USWB methods are minimal and sometimes perform well with remotely collected data. The Hamon method requires average daily air temperature, and the USWB method requires daily averages of air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation. Estimates of annual lake evaporation from pan data are frequently within 20 percent of energy-budget method estimates. Results of evaporation estimates from the Hamon method and the USWB method were compared against historical pan data at five selected reservoirs in Texas (Benbrook Lake, Canyon Lake, Granger Lake, Hords Creek Lake, and Sam Rayburn Lake) to evaluate their performance and to develop coefficients to minimize bias for the purpose of estimating reservoir evaporation with accuracies similar to estimates of evaporation obtained from pan data. The modified Hamon method estimates of reservoir evaporation were similar to estimates of reservoir evaporation from pan data for daily, monthly, and annual time periods. The modified Hamon method estimates of annual reservoir evaporation were always within 20 percent of annual reservoir evaporation from pan data. Unmodified and modified USWB method estimates of annual reservoir evaporation were within 20 percent of annual reservoir evaporation from pan data for about 91 percent of the years compared. Average daily differences between modified USWB method estimates and estimates from pan data as a percentage of the average amount of daily evaporation from pan data were within 20 percent for 98 percent of the months. Without any modification to the USWB method, average daily differences as a percentage of the average amount of daily evaporation from pan data were within 20 percent for 73 percent of the months. Use of the unmodified USWB method is appealing because it means estimates of average daily reservoir evaporation can be made from air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation data collected from remote weather stations without the need to develop site-specific coefficients from historical pan data. Site-specific coefficients would need to be developed for the modified version of the Hamon method.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Estimation of evaporation from open water - A review of selected studies, summary of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data collection and methods, and evaluation of two methods for estimation of evaporation from five reservoirs in Texas
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2012-5202
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Texas Water Science Center
Description:
vii, 96 p.
Number of Pages:
107
Country:
United States
State:
Texas
City:
Austin;Dallas;Fort Worth;Houston;San Angelo;San Antonio;Waco
Datum:
North American Datum of 1983
Projection:
Albers Equal Area
Online Only (Y/N):
Y