Accuracy Assessment of NOAA Gridded Daily Reference Evapotranspiration for the Texas High Plains
Additional Document Info
2015 American Water Resources Association. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides daily reference evapotranspiration (ETref) maps for the contiguous United States using climatic data from North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS). This data provides large-scale spatial representation of ETref, which is essential for regional scale water resources management. Data used in the development of NOAA daily ETref maps are derived from observations over surfaces that are different from short (grass - ETos) or tall (alfalfa - ETrs) reference crops, often in nonagricultural settings, which carries an unknown discrepancy between assumed and actual conditions. In this study, NOAA daily ETos and ETrs maps were evaluated for accuracy, using observed data from the Texas High Plains Evapotranspiration (TXHPET) network. Daily ETos, ETrs and the climatic data (air temperature, wind speed, and solar radiation) used for calculating ETref were extracted from the NOAA maps for TXHPET locations and compared against ground measurements on reference grass surfaces. NOAA ETref maps generally overestimated the TXHPET observations (1.4 and 2.2mm/day ETos and ETrs, respectively), which may be attributed to errors in the NLDAS modeled air temperature and wind speed, to which reference ETref is most sensitive. Therefore, a bias correction to NLDAS modeled air temperature and wind speed data, or adjustment to the resulting NOAA ETref, may be needed to improve the accuracy of NOAA ETref maps.