Calibration of the Hargreaves–Samani method for the calculation of reference evapotranspiration in different Köppen climate classes

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The Penman–Monteith equation (FAO-56) is accepted as the standard model for estimating reference evapotranspiration (ETo). However, the major obstacle to using FAO-56 widely is that it requires numerous climatic data. The Hargreaves–Samani (HS) method is frequently used for the calculation of ETo since it is based on measurements of daily minimum and maximum air temperature alone. Those are commonly recorded at many meteorological stations throughout the world. It is the objective of this paper to evaluate the quality of HS and calibrate the coefficients of this method for different climates as represented by the Köppen classification. Estimated values are compared with Penman–Monteith ETo values in terms of the coefficient of efficiency Ceff as well as the root mean square error, the mean absolute error and the Bayes information criterion. The Penman–Monteith equation for ETo (FAO-56) is based on physics and known to provide best estimates of ETo. The results of our work show that the correlation between long-term monthly means of HS and FAO-56 can be improved significantly by introducing climate-class specific coefficients.

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