National Weather Service Forecast Reference Evapotranspiration

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Thursday, 6 February 2014: 9:00 AM
Room C209 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Cynthia K. Palmer, NOAA/NWS, San Diego, CA; and H. D. Osborne, P. Krone-Davis, and F. Melton

Handout (2.6 MB)

The National Weather Service (NWS), Weather Forecasting Offices (WFOs) are producing daily reference evapotranspiration (ETrc) forecasts or FRET across the Western Region and in other selected locations since 2009, using the Penman Monteith Reference Evapotranspiration equation for a short canopy (12 cm grasses), adopted by the Environmental Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE-EWRI, 2004). The sensitivity of these daily calculations to fluctuations in temperatures, humidity, winds, and sky cover allows forecasters with knowledge of local terrain and weather patterns to better forecast in the ETrc inputs. The daily FRET product then evolved into a suite of products, including a weekly ETrc forecast for better water planning and a tabular point forecast for easy ingest into local water management-models. The ETrc forecast product suite allows water managers, the agricultural community, and the public to make more informed water-use decisions. These products permit operational planning, especially with the impending drought across much of the West. For example, the California Department of Water Resources not only ingests the FRET into their soil moisture models, but uses the FRET calculations when determining the reservoir releases in the Sacramento and American Rivers. We will also focus on the expansion of FRET verification, which compares the daily FRET to the observations of ETo from the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) across California's Central Valley for the 2012 water year.