Bias-correcting input variables enhances forecasting of reference crop evapotranspiration

Yang, Qichun; Wang, Quan J.; Hakala, Kirsti; Tang, Yating

Reference crop evapotranspiration (ETo) is calculated using a standard formula with temperature, vapor pressure, solar radiation, and wind speed as input variables. ETo forecasts can be produced when forecasts of these input variables from numerical weather prediction (NWP) models are available. As raw ETo forecasts are often subject to systematic errors, statistical calibration is needed for improving forecast quality. The most straightforward and widely used approach is to directly calibrate raw ETo forecasts constructed with the raw forecasts of input variables. However, the predictable signal in ETo forecasts may not be fully implemented by this approach, which does not deal with error propagation from input variables to ETo forecasts. We hypothesize that correcting errors in input variables as a precursor to forecast calibration will lead to more skillful ETo forecasts. To test this hypothesis, we evaluate two calibration strategies that construct raw ETo forecasts with the raw (strategy i) or bias-corrected (strategy ii) input variables in ETo forecast calibration across Australia. Calibrated ETo forecasts based on bias-corrected input variables (strategy ii) demonstrate lower biases, higher correlation coefficients, and higher skills than forecasts produced by the calibration using raw input variables (strategy i). This investigation indicates that improving raw forecasts of input variables could effectively reduce error propagation and enhance ETo forecast calibration. We anticipate that future NWP-based ETo forecasting will benefit from adopting the calibration strategy developed in this study to produce more skillful ETo forecasts.



Yang, Qichun / Wang, Quan J. / Hakala, Kirsti / et al: Bias-correcting input variables enhances forecasting of reference crop evapotranspiration. 2021. Copernicus Publications.


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