1068 Using FRET for Drought Mitigation

Wednesday, 25 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Cynthia K. Palmer, NOAA/NWS, Shreveport, LA; and H. D. Osborne and M. Hobbins

With the ongoing drought plaguing California and much of the Western United States, water agencies and the general public have a heightened need for short term forecasts of evapotranspiration.  The National Weather Service’s (NWS) Forecast Reference Evapotranspiration (FRET) product suite can fill this need.  The FRET product suite uses the Penman – Monteith Reference Evapotranspiration (ETrc) equation for a short canopy (12 cm grasses), adopted by the Environmental Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers.  FRET is calculated across the contiguous U.S. using temperatures, humidity, winds, and sky cover from Numerical Weather Prediction (NPW) models and adjusted by NWS forecasters with local expertise of terrain and weather patterns.  The Weekly ETrc product is easily incorporated into drought-planning strategies, allowing water managers, the agricultural community, and the public to make better informed water-use decisions.  FRET can assist with the decision making process for scheduling irrigation (e.g., farms, golf courses, vineyards) and timing of fertilizers.  The California Department of Water Resources (CA DWR) ingests FRET into their soil moisture models, and uses FRET to assist in determining the reservoir releases for the Feather River.  The United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) also uses FRET in determining reservoir releases and assessing water temperature along the Sacramento and American Rivers.  FRET is now operational on the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD), permitting other agencies easy access to this nationwide data for all drought mitigation and planning purposes.
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