Performance Evaluation of Reference Evapotranspiration Equations Across a Range of Indian Climates

Nandagiri, Lakshman and Kovoor, Gicy M (2006) Performance Evaluation of Reference Evapotranspiration Equations Across a Range of Indian Climates. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering , 132 (3). pp. 238-249. ISSN Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering

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Reference crop evapotranspiration �ET0� is a key variable in procedures established for estimation of evapotranspiration rates of agricultural crops. In recent years, there is growing evidence to show that the more physically based FAO-56 Penman–Monteith PM combination method yields consistently more accurate ET0 estimates across a wide range of climates and is being proposed as the sole method for ET0 computations. However, other methods continue to remain popular among Indian practitioners either because of traditional usage or because of their simpler input data requirements. In this study, we evaluated the performances of several ET0 methods in the major climate regimes of India with a view to quantify differences in ET0 estimates as influenced by climatic conditions and also to identify methods that yield results closest to the FAO-56 PM method. performances of seven ET0 methods, representing emperaturebased, radiation-based, pan evaporation-based, and combination-type equations, were compared with the FAO-56 PM method using historical climate data from four stations located one each in arid Jodhpur, semiarid Hyderabad, subhumid Bangalore, and humid Pattambi climates of India. For each location, ET0 estimates by all the methods for assumed hypothetical grass reference crop were statistically compared using aily climate records extending over periods of 3–4 years. Comparisons were performed for daily and monthly computational time steps. Overall results while providing information on variations in FAO-56 PM ET0 values across climates also indicated climate-specific differences in ET0 estimates obtained by the various methods. Among the ET0 methods evaluated, the FAO-56 Hargreaves �temperature-based method yielded ET0 estimates closest to the FAO-56 PM method both for daily and monthly time steps, in all climates except the humid one where the Turc �radiation-based was best. Considering daily comparisons, the associated minimum standard errors of estimate SEE were 1.35, 0.78, 0.67, and 0.31 mm/day, for the arid, semiarid, subhumid, and humid locations, respectively. For monthly comparisons, minimum SEE values were smaller at 0.95, 0.59, 0.38, and 0.20 mm/day for arid, semiarid, subhumid, and humid locations, respectively. These results indicate that the choice of an alternative simpler equation in a particular climate on the basis of SEE is dictated by the time step adopted and also it appears that the simpler equations yield much smaller errors when monthly computations are made. In order to provide simple ET0 estimation tools for practitioners, linear regression equations for preferred FAO-56 PM ET0 estimates in terms of ET0 estimates by the simpler methods were developed and validated for each climate. A novel attempt was made to investigate the reasons for the climate-dependent success of the simpler alternative ET0 equations using multivariate factor analysis techniques. For each climate, datasets comprising FAO-56 PM ET0 estimates and the climatic variables were subject to factor analysis and the resulting rotated factor loadings were used to interpret the relative importance of climatic variables in explaining the observed variabilities in ET0 estimates. Results of factor analysis more or less conformed the results of the statistical comparisons and provided a statistical justification for the ranking of alternative methods based on performance indices. Factor analysis also indicated that windspeed appears to be an important variable in the arid climate, whereas sunshine hours appear to be more dominant in subhumid and humid climates. Temperature related variables appear to be the most crucial inputs required to obtain ET0 estimates comparable to those from the FAO-56 PM method across all the climates considered.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © American Society of Civil Engineers
Uncontrolled Keywords: Evapotranspiration, Performance characteristics, Evaluation, Statistics, Validation, India
Subjects: Engineering > MIT Manipal > Civil Engineering
Depositing User: MIT Library
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2011 09:34
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2011 09:34

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