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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #345022

Research Project: Towards Resilient Agricultural Systems to Enhance Water Availability, Quality, and Other Ecosystem Services under Changing Climate and Land Use

Location: Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research

Title: Evaluating evapotranspiration estimation methods in APEX model for dryland cropping systems in a semi-arid region

Author
item Tadesse, Haile
item Moriasi, Daniel
item Gowda, Prasanna
item Marek, Gary
item Steiner, Jean
item Brauer, David - Dave
item Talebizadeh, Mansour - Orise Fellow
item Nelson, Amanda
item Starks, Patrick - Pat

Submitted to: Agricultural Water Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/7/2018
Publication Date: 5/29/2018
Citation: Tadesse, H.K., Moriasi, D.N., Gowda, P., Marek, G.W., Steiner, J.L., Brauer, D.K., Talebizadeh, M., Nelson, A.M., Starks, P.J. 2018. Evaluating evapotranspiration estimation methods in APEX model for dryland cropping systems in a semi-arid region. Agricultural Water Management. 206:217-228. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2018.04.007.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2018.04.007

Interpretive Summary: Hydrologic and water quality models, such as the Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender (APEX), are used to assess the potential impacts of climate variability, climate change, drought, land use change, and other environmental factors on agricultural production and water resources. Before using these models, it is important to understand the processes that influence water budget. Evapotranspiration (ET), is a major component of the water budget and therefore it requires accurate estimation. The APEX model has five methods used to estimate ET but there is no current literature on their impact on the ET process parameters and the corresponding model ET simulation performance. ET and crop yield data measured in the Lysimeter fields located in the USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Research Laboratory, Bushland, Texas were used to evaluate these ET methods in APEX. The number of sensitive parameters remained relatively the same among ET simulation methods ranging from 13 to 11. However, there was large variability in parameter sensitivity ranks. There were 10 sensitive parameters common to all ETp methods and 4 sensitive parameters unique to a particular method. With the exception of five, all methods had similar ranges of values for the sensitive parameters. In general there were no large differences in the performance of ET methods, but there can be large differences depending on user selected criteria threshold. For example, the probability of obtaining parameter values that can simulate ET within 15% of long-term measured ET varied from a minimum of 24% using Hargreaves method to 73% using Penman-Monteith method. Overall, Penman-Monteith method simulated ET relatively better than the other methods. However, the results also indicated that the other ET methods can provide satisfactory results in regions with limited weather data.

Technical Abstract: Evapotranspiration (ET), is a major component of the hydrologic budget and therefore it requires accurate estimation. The Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender (APEX), a hydrologic and water quality model developed for evaluating the effect of agricultural production management practices on the environment. It has five different methods to simulate ET. The objectives of this study were to: determine the impact of using different ET methods in APEX on sensitive ET parameters in semi-arid environments, determine reasonable range of values for sensitive parameters, and compare performance of these methods using multiple criteria. ET and crop yield data measured in the Lysimeter fields located in the USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Research Laboratory, Bushland, Texas were used to calibrate and validate the model. Results indicated that selection of statistical model performance measure and ET method affects the number of sensitive parameters and parameter rank. The number of sensitive parameters remained relatively stable among ET simulation methods but there was large variability in parameter sensitivity ranks. It is also important that users carefully choose appropriate statistical measure to use depending on the goals of their study. With the exception of maximum rainfall intercept, exponent coefficient rainfall, SCS index coefficient, rain intercept coefficient, and root growth soil strength, all methods had similar ranges of values for the sensitive parameters. In general there were no large differences in the performance of ET methods. However, Penman-Monteith method simulated ET relatively better than the other methods, which may be explained by the fact that it is a physically-based method with many weather variables whose data was available for the study area. However, the study findings indicate that the other ET methods can provide satisfactory results in regions with limited weather data.