Evapotranspiration (ET) is a major component of the water cycle, which makes it an integral part of water resources management, especially in arid and semiarid environments. ET data are used for water management, irrigation scheduling, various modeling activities, and much more. Some areas of scarce water resources place limitations on water use, which are typically determined from various modeling approaches. As many models use ET as an input, or for validation, accurate ET data is essential to ensure accurate model outputs. In addition, most water management practices are done at the field scale; ET data of a similar scale is needed. Many ET measurement or estimation methods exist and vary widely in approach, instrumentation, complexity, and purpose. A lysimeter is considered the standard for ET measurement and is the most accurate. Other, more portable options are available, such as eddy covariance, scintillometer, Bowen ratio, and remote sensing, all capable of estimating actual field ET within approximately 30% of actual values. Although other methods may not be as accurate as a lysimeter, each has benefits in certain situations. Depending on the purpose, the level of accuracy may be suitable. ET estimation methods are constantly evolving, and accuracy should continually improve further.
Part of the book: Advanced Evapotranspiration Methods and Applications