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Sensitivity of Grass- and Alfalfa-Reference Evapotranspiration to Weather Station Sensor Accuracy

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 28(4): 543-549. (doi: 10.13031/2013.42100) @2012
Authors:   D. Porter, P. Gowda, T. Marek, T. Howell, J. Moorhead, S. Irmak
Keywords:   Sensitivity analysis, Weather data, Weather stations

A sensitivity analysis was conducted to determine the relative effects of measurement errors in climate data input parameters on the accuracy of calculated reference crop evapotranspiration (ET) using the ASCE-EWRI Standardized Reference ET Equation. Data for the period of 1995 to 2008 from an automated weather station located at the USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Research Laboratory at Bushland, Texas were used for the analysis. Results indicated that grass (ETos) and alfalfa (ETrs) reference crop ET were most sensitive to measurement errors in wind speed and air temperature followed by incoming shortwave (solar) radiation, and that data sensitivity was greater during the mid-summer growing season in this semi-arid region. Given the highly advective conditions of the Texas High Plains and the relative sensitivity of ET calculations to errors in wind speed, special care is recommended in siting, sensor placement, and sensor maintenance for agriculturally-based ET weather stations.

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