Irrigation & Drainage Systems Engineering

ISSN: 2168-9768

Open Access

Comparison of Reference Evapotranspiration Calculations for Southeastern North Dakota


Xinhua Jia, Thomas Scherer, Dongqing Lin, Xiaodong Zhang and Ishara Rijal

Potential water consumption for irrigation scheduling in North Dakota was typically calculated from a reference Evapotranspiration (ETref) using the Jensen-Haise method and its associated crop coefficient (Kc) curves developed in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The ETref method proposed by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Environmental and Water Research Institute (ASCE-EWRI) reference evapotranspiration task force has shown to be more accurate and therefore more widely used than any other methods. However, to apply the ASCE-EWRI method for irrigation scheduling requires a corresponding change of the Kc curves associated with the Jensen-Haise method. In this paper, a comparison of ETref estimates for 11 methods, including the ASCE-EWRI and the Jensen-Haise methods, was conducted using 18 years of data collected in southeastern North Dakota. The results show that the annual ETref by the Jensen-Haise method was nearly the same as the ASCE-EWRI grass ETref, but with a higher Root Mean Square Deviation (RMSD), 0.903 mm d-1, and a lower coefficient of determination (R2) 0.8659. The ETref comparison for the growing season only shows an RMSD of 1.007 mm d-1, R2 of 0.7996 and 8.13% overestimation. The ETref by the Jensen-Haisemethod has a higher monthly ETref than the ASCE-EWRI in June, July, and August, and a lower monthly ETref for all other months in an 18 year period. The ETref comparisons also show that the modified Penman method used by the High Plains Regional Climate Center (HPRCC Penman) has the best accuracy and correlation with the ASCE-EWRI ETref method. Indeed, all alfalfa based ETref methods, including Kimberly Penman and HPRCC Penman, show better performance than the grass based ETref methods, including FAO24 Penman, FAO24 Radiation, FAO24 Blaney-Criddle, Priestley-Taylor, Hargreaves, and the Jensen-Haise methods.


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