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Validation and Bias Correction of Forecast Reference Evapotranspiration for Agricultural Applications in Nevada

NIDIS Supported Research
NIDIS-Supported Research
Main Summary

Accurate estimates of reference evapotranspiration (ET0) are critical for estimating actual crop evapotranspiration (AET) and agricultural water use. Measuring AET to estimate consumptive water use can be difficult and expensive while ET0 estimates can be obtained from readily available weather station data or gridded weather data. Forecasts of the weather variables needed to estimate ET0 are also readily available and have the potential to be used by agricultural producers for irrigation scheduling with the ultimate goal of reducing unnecessary crop water use. However, most forecast models do not account for agriculture and irrigation, leading to large biases in forecasted ET0.

Project objectives:

  • Evaluate the skill of the National Weather Service Forecast Reference Evapotranspiration (FRET) product using observed ET0 estimates from the Nevada Integrated Climate and Evapotranspiration Network (NICE Net)
  • Determine which of the FRET ET0 drivers (temperature, humidity, wind speed, or solar radiation) contribute most the forecast errors
  • Use the FRET archived forecasts to develop bias-correction factors which can be applied to real-time FRET forecasts for agricultural applications
  • Disseminate project results through peer-reviewed publications and outreach (webinars, conference presentations, etc.) to California-Nevada Drought Early Warning System Stakeholders
  • Incorporate FRET into Climate Engine.

Research Snapshot

Research Timeline
September 2021–February 2023
Principal Investigator(s)

Dan McEvoy and Justin Huntington, Western Regional Climate Center, Desert Research Institute

Project Funding
Focus Areas (DEWS Components)

What to expect from this research

Key Regions

Research Scope
DEWS Region(s)