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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #394423

Research Project: Dryland and Irrigated Crop Management Under Limited Water Availability and Drought

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: Standard quality controlled research weather data - USDA-ARS, Bushland, Texas

item Evett, Steven - Steve
item Marek, Gary
item Copeland, Karen
item Ruthardt, Brice
item Colaizzi, Paul
item Brauer, David
item HOWELL, SR., TERRY - Retired ARS Employee

Submitted to: Ag Data Commons
Publication Type: Database / Dataset
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/13/2022
Publication Date: 5/13/2022
Citation: Evett, S.R., Marek, G.W., Copeland, K.S., Ruthardt, B.B., Colaizzi, P.D., Brauer, D.K., Howell, Sr., T.A. 2022. Standard quality controlled research weather data - USDA-ARS, Bushland, Texas. Ag Data Commons.

Interpretive Summary: The scarcity of water resources in the U.S. Southern High Plains is of regional, national and even international concern due to the fact that the region acts as a breadbasket for the nation and world. The majority of agricultural production in this region depends on irrigation, largely dependent on pumping from the Ogallala or High Plains Aquifer, which are yielding less water every year. Scientists at the USDA ARS Conservation & Production Research Laboratory at Bushland, Texas, measured weather data at 15-minute intervals and implemented a rigorous quality control process to help determine the amount of water used in the region’s climate, the effectiveness of irrigation practices, and the accuracy of water use models. However, these data have not been previously publicly available in a readily useable format. Thus, the scientific team has prepared these unique data sets for sharing with other scientists and the general public on the USDA National Agricultural Library online data sharing library. These data sets have already been used to improve crop growth, water use, and yield models used to forecast production nationally and to guide water planning locally and regionally. Public accessibility via the USDA National Agricultural Library will increase their use by other researchers.

Technical Abstract: Accurate evapotranspiration (ET) estimation is important for effective irrigation scheduling to improve crop water productivity, irrigation scheme management, long term water resource planning and management, and for use in crop simulation models to improve accuracy of ET and yield estimates. However, crop models and many other crop ET estimation methods rely on accurate weather data without which they cannot be expected to deliver accurate ET estimates. Similarly, models cannot be reliably improved unless the weather data used in testing and intercomparing models can be trusted. The USDA ARS research team at Bushland, Texas, measured weather variables of solar irradiance, air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, barometric pressure, and precipitation at 15-minute intervals since the beginning of weighing lysimeter research in the late 1980s. The team used duplicate sensors for error checking and redundancy, and also measured weather variables at the four large, precision weighing lysimeters, and at the nearby U.S. Weather Bureau station. These various sources of weather data were intercompared and used for gap filling to prepare a dataset of 15-minute quality-controlled data for all days of each year of research. These data are presented as machine readable files available to the public via the USDA ARS National Agriculture Library (NAL) Ag Data Commons internet site. The Bushland weather data have already been used by several universities and by the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) for crop model testing and improvement.