Water Resources Management

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 197–219 | Cite as

Cross Comparison of Empirical Equations for Calculating Potential Evapotranspiration with Data from Switzerland

  • C.-Y. XuEmail author
  • V. P. Singh


Earlier studies (Singh and Xu, 1997; Xu and Singh, 2000, 2001) have evaluated and compared various popular empirical evapotranspiration equations that belonged to three categories:(1) mass-transfer based methods, (2) radiation based methods, and(3) temperature-based methods; and the best and worst equations of each category were determined for the study regions. In this study a cross comparison of the best or representative equation forms selected from each category was made. Five representativeempirical potential evapotranspiration equations selected from the three categories, namely: Hargreaves and Blaney-Criddle (temperature-based), Makkink and Priestley-Taylor (radiation-based) and Rohwer (mass-transfer-based) were evaluatedand compared with the Penman-Monteith equation using daily meteorological data from the Changins station in Switzerland.The calculations of the Penman-Monteith equation followed theprocedure recommended by FAO (Allen et al., 1998). Thecomparison was first made using the original constant valuesinvolved in each empirical equation and then made using therecalibrated constant values. The study showed that: (1) theoriginal constant values involved in each empirical equationworked quite well for the study region, except that the valueof α = 1.26 in Priestley-Taylor was found to be too high and therecalibration gave a value of α = 0.90 for the region.(2) Improvement was achieved for the Blaney-Criddle method by addinga transition period in determining the parameter k. (3) The differences of performance between the best equation forms selected from each category are smaller than the differences between different equations within each category as reportedin earlier studies (Xu and Singh, 2000, 2001). Further examinationof the performance resulted in the following rank of accuracy ascompared with the Penman-Monteith estimates: Priestley-Taylor andMakkink (Radiation-based), Hargreaves and Blaney-Criddle (temperature-based) and Rohwer (Mass-transfer).

mass-transfer-based potential evapotranspiration radiation-based Switzerland temperature-based 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth Sciences, HydrologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeU.S.A

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