Reference evapotranspiration (ETo) and pan evaporation (Epan) are key parameters in hydrological and meteorological studies. The authors’ objectives were to evaluate the ratio of ETo to Epan (kp) at daily and monthly scales and to predict average ETo in the following years using calibrated kp and observed Epan at the two time scales. Using 50 yr of data obtained at six typical sites in north China, daily and monthly ETo were calculated using the Food and Agriculture Organization estimation method (FAO-56) Penman–Monteith equation, and kp values were determined at the two time scales. Values of kp varied from 0.457 to 0.589 daily and from 0.392 to 0.528 monthly for the six sites. Both daily and monthly kpcould be fitted as multilinear functions of longitude, latitude, elevation, and relative humidity. Relatively accurate predictions of daily mean ETo for the subsequent years following the calibration years at all six sites were obtained when the year number L used for calibrating daily mean kp was sufficient (>38). In cases when large deviations occurred between average kp for the L calibration years and the actual kp of the following (L + 1)th year, relatively large prediction errors resulted. For the monthly scale, soil heat flux G fluctuated periodically. When variations of G were included, the calculated monthly ETo values were smaller than the monthly ETo cumulated from daily ETo. Thus, monthly kp values were smaller than daily kp values. Predictions of monthly ETo in 2001 for the six sites were relatively accurate with relative errors ranging from −11.9% to 12.1%. In conclusion, this method is simple and accurate with a small demand for weather data.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/robert-horton/81/