Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #325853


Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: Improvements to water use and water stress estimates with the addition of IR and net radiometers to weather stations

item BLONQUIST, JAMES - Apogee Instruments
item BUGBEE, BRUCE - Utah State University
item Evett, Steven - Steve

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2015
Publication Date: 11/15/2015
Citation: Blonquist, J.M., Bugbee, B., Evett, S.R. 2015. Improvements to water use and water stress estimates with the addition of IR and net radiometers to weather stations [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. Paper No. 203-6.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Evapotranspiration (ET) is often estimated with the Penman-Monteith (P-M) equation. Net radiation (Rn) is a major component of the surface energy balance and an input to the P-M equation, but it is challenging and expensive to measure accurately. For these reasons, most weather stations do not include net radiometers and a model is used to estimate Rn for evapotranspiration (ET) calculations. Estimates of Rn from the sub-model used in routine application of the P-M equation were compared to Rn measurements made with four-way net radiometers over turfgrass and alfalfa canopies (the two defined reference surfaces for application of the P-M equation). Data indicate Rn estimates from the sub-model tend to be high, and that more accurate Rn data for use in ET estimation can be obtained by adding a net radiometer or infrared radiometer to weather stations running the P-M equation. Routine application of the P-M equation requires use of a defined reference surface representing well-watered (no stress) conditions. Thus, estimates of ET using a reference surface represent a reference ET. Actual water use for the crop of interest is then calculated by scaling this reference ET by an empirical crop coefficient. Measurement or estimation of surface temperature with an IR radiometer or net radiometer allows for application of a two-source (canopy and soil) energy balance model from which actual crop water use can be calculated. Actual crop water use can then be compared to reference crop water use as a way to estimate water stress. A two-source energy balance model was verified over a well-watered alfalfa crop where ET was measured with a weighing lysimeter. The two-source model was then used to estimate water stress in other crops.