Distribution and trends in reference evapotranspiration in the North China plain

Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
By: , and 



The distribution and trends in reference evapotranspiration (ET(o)) are extremely important to water resources planning for agriculture, and it is widely believed that rates of ET(o) will increase with global warming. This is a big concern in China, where water deficits are common in the North China Plain (NCP). In this study, Penman-Monteith reference evapotranspiration at 26 meteorological stations during 1961-2006 in and around the NCP was calculated. The temporal variations and spatial distribution of ET(o) were analyzed and the causes for the variations were discussed. The results showed that: (1) the NCP was divided into two climatic regions based on aridity values: a semiarid region that accounts for 69% of the area and subhumid regions that made of the remaining area; (2) over the entire NCP, the highest annual ET(o) occurred in the central and western areas and the lowest total ET(o) was observed in the east. Comparing the mean monthly ET(o) and annual ET(o) distributions, the high ET(o) values from May through July mainly determined the annual ET(o) distribution; (3) for the whole NCP, annual ET(o) showed a statistically significant decrease of 11.92 mm/decade over the 46 years of data collection in the NCP or approximately a 5% total decrease compared to the ET(o) values in 1961; (4) to determine which variable has the greatest effect on the decrease in ET(o), decadal changes were observed for daily values of maximum air temperature (+0.16 degrees C), minimum air temperature (+0.35 degrees C), net radiation (-0.13 MJ m(-2)), and mean wind speed (-0.09 m s(-1)). These results indicate that the decreasing net radiation and wind speed had a bigger impact on ET(o) rates than the increases observed by the maximum and minimum temperatures.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Distribution and trends in reference evapotranspiration in the North China plain
Series title Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
DOI 10.1061/(ASCE)IR.1943-4774.0000175
Volume 136
Issue 4
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher ASCE
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description 8 p.
First page 240
Last page 247
Country China
Other Geospatial North China Plain
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