A survey of temporal and spatial reference crop evapotranspiration trends in Iran from 1960 to 2005
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- Kousari, M.R., Asadi Zarch, M.A., Ahani, H. et al. Climatic Change (2013) 120: 277. doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0821-5
Reference crop evapotranspiration (ET0) is one of the most important climatic parameters which plays a key role in estimating crop water demand and scheduling irrigation. Under global warming and climate change conditions, it is needed to survey the trend of ET0 in Iran. In this study, ET0 values were determined based on FAO-56 Penman-Monteith equation over 32 synoptic meteorological stations during 1960–2005; and analyzed spatially and temporally in monthly, seasonal and annual time scales. After removing the significant lag-1 serial correlation effect by pre-whitening, non-parametric statistical Mann–Kendall (MK) test was used to detect the trends. The slope of the changes was determined by Sen’s slope estimator. In order to facilitate in trend analysis, the 10 moving average low pass filter were also applied on the normalized annual ET0 time series. Annual ET0 time series and filtered ones were then classified by hierarchical clustering in three clusters and then mapped in order to show the patterns of different clusters. Results showed that the significant decreasing trends were more considerable than increasing ones. Among surveyed stations, and on an annual time scale, the highest and lowest annual values of Sen’s slope estimator were observed in Tabas with (+) 72.14 mm per decade and Shahrud with (−) 62.22 mm per decade, respectively. Results also indicated that the clustered map based on normalized and filtered annual ET0 time series is in accordance with another map which showed spatial distribution of increasing, decreasing and non-significant trends of ET0 on annually time scale. Exploratory and visual analysis of smoothed time series showed increasing trend in recent years especially after 1980 and 1995. In brief, the upward trend of ET0 in recent years is a crucial issue with regard to the high cost of dam construction for agricultural aims in arid and semi-arid regions e.g. Iran.