Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2013, Vol. 68 ›› Issue (1): 127-136.doi: 10.11821/xb201301014

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A review of evapotranspiration estimation methods in hydrological Models

ZHAO Lingling1,2, XIA Jun3,1, XU Chong-yu4, WANG Zhonggen1, LeszekSOBKOWIAK5   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Water Cycle & Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3. State Key Lab. of Water Resources & Hydropower Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China;
    4. Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway;
    5. Department of Hydrology and Water Management, Institute of Physical Geography and Environmental Planning, Adam Mickiewicz University, 61-680, Poland
  • Received:2012-08-23 Revised:2012-10-16 Online:2013-01-20 Published:2013-03-19
  • Supported by:

    National Basic Research Program of China, No.2010CB428406; CAS-CSIRO Cooperative research Program, No.CJHZ1223

Abstract: Actual evapotranspiration is a key process of hydrological cycle and a sole term that links land surface water balance equation and land surface energy balance equation. Evapotranspiration plays a key role in simulating hydrological effect of climate change, and a review of evapotranspiration estimation methods in hydrological models is of vital importance. This paper firstly summarizes the evapotranspiration estimation methods in hydrological models and then classifies them into integrated discounting methods and classification gathering methods by their mechanism. Integrated discounting methods are usually used in hydrological models and two differences exist among these methods, one is in the potential evaporation estimation methods, and the other difference is the function for defining relationship between potential evaporation and actual evapotranspiration. Due to the higher information requirements of the Penman-Monteith method and the existing uncertainty in those data, simplified empirical methods for calculating potential and actual evapotranspiration are widely used in hydrological models. Different evapotranspiration calculation methods are used in different hydrological models, and importance and difficulty in the selection of most suitable evapotranspiration methods in various hydrological models with different complexity is discussed. Finally, this paper points out the development direction of the evapotranspiration estimating methods in hydrological models.

Key words: hydrological model, actual evaporation, potential evaporation, function of soil moisture