Paddy and Water Environment

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 397–410 | Cite as

Short-term daily forecasting of crop evapotranspiration of rice using public weather forecasts

  • Dan Li
  • Junying Chen
  • Yufeng Luo
  • Fangping Liu
  • Hongying Luo
  • Hengwang Xie
  • Yuanlai Cui


Accurate forecasts of daily crop evapotranspiration (ETc) are essential for real-time irrigation management and water resource allocation. This paper presents a method for the short-term forecasting of ETc using a single-crop coefficient approach and public weather forecasts. Temperature forecasts with a 7-day lead time in 2013–2015 were retrieved and entered into a calibrated Hargreaves–Samani model to compute daily reference evapotranspiration (ET0) forecasts, while crop coefficient (Kc) empirical values were estimated from both observed ETc value and calculated ET0 values using the Penman–Monteith equation for the period of 2010–2012. Daily ETc forecasts of irrigated double-cropping rice were determined for three growing seasons during the period of 2013–2015 and were compared with ETc values measured by the weighing lysimeters at the Jiangxi experimental irrigation station in southeastern China. During the early rice season, the average mean absolute error (MAE) and root-mean-square-error (RMSE) values of ETc forecasts ranged from 0.95 to 1.06 mm day−1 and from 1.18 to 1.31 mm day−1, respectively, and the average correlation coefficient (R) ranged from 0.39 to 0.54; for late rice, the average MAE and RMSE values ranged from 1.01 to 1.09 mm day−1 and from 1.32 to 1.40 mm day−1, respectively, and the average R value ranged from 0.54 to 0.58. There could be three factors responsible for errors in ETc forecasts, including temperature forecast errors, Kc value errors and neglected meteorological variables in the HS model, including wind speed and relative humidity. In addition, ETc was more sensitive to changes in temperature than Kc. The overall results indicated that it is appropriate to forecast ETc with the proposed model for real-time irrigation management and water resource allocation.


Crop evapotranspiration Irrigation forecasts Rice Public weather forecasts Crop coefficient 

List of symbols


Empirical coefficient of Hargreaves–Samani equation


Actual vapor pressure


Vapor pressure at saturation


Empirical exponent of Hargreaves–Samani equation




Crop evapotranspiration


ETc forecast value


Observed ETc value


Reference evapotranspiration


ET0 forecast value


ET0 calculated by Hargreaves–Samani equation


ET0 calculated by Penman–Monteith equation


Soil heat flux density


Crop coefficient


Actual Kc value


Empirical Kc value


Extraterrestrial radiation


Net radiation


Air temperature at a height of 2 m


Maximum air temperature


Minimum air temperature


Wind speed at a height of 2 m


Slop of vapor pressure curve


Psychrometric constant



This work was financially supported the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFC0403206) and Jiangxi Provincial Department of Science and Technology under Key Research & Development (R&D) Plan (20171ACH80018). The observed meteorological data obtained from the China Meteorological Data Sharing Service System ( and weather forecast data from Weather China ( are gratefully acknowledged. The comments made by two anonymous reviewers are also highly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© The International Society of Paddy and Water Environment Engineering and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dan Li
    • 1
  • Junying Chen
    • 2
  • Yufeng Luo
    • 1
    • 4
  • Fangping Liu
    • 3
  • Hongying Luo
    • 4
  • Hengwang Xie
    • 3
  • Yuanlai Cui
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering ScienceWuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.College of Water Resources and Architectural EngineeringNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  3. 3.Jiangxi Central Irrigation Experiment StationNanchangChina
  4. 4.School of Water Resources and Civil EngineeringTibet Agricultural and Animal Husbandry CollegeNyingchiChina

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