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Evaluation of temperature-based solar radiation models and their impact on penman-monteith reference evapotranspiration in a semiarid climate

International Journal of Hydrology
Koffi Djaman,1 Lamine Diop,2 Komlan Koudahe,3 Ansoumana Bodian,2 Papa Malick Ndiaye2

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Solar radiation is one of the most important climatic parameters that is involved in different environmental, hydrological, agricultural applications while not always measured at all weather stations due to the high equipment and maintenance cost. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the performance and accuracy of twenty temperature based solar radiation models at five weather stations (Alcalde, Fabian Garcia, Farmington, Leyendecker and Tucumcari) in New Mexico and to evaluate the impact of solar radiation prediction on the Penman-Monteith grass reference evapotranspiration (ETo) for the global period of 2009-2017. New constants of each model at each weather station were retrieved using the optimization procedure Solver in Excel that maximizes the Kling-Gupta Efficiency (KGE). The root mean squared error (RMSE), mean absolute error (MAE), mean bias error (MBE) and the Nash-Sutcliffe model efficiency coefficient (NSE) were used for model performance evaluation. The results showed that the Hargreaves and Samani (1982), improved by Allen 1995, Bristow-Campbell (1984), Hunt et al. (1998), Fan et al. (2018), Hassan et al. (2016), Samani (2000); Nage et al. (2018) 2 and the Richardson et al (2018) models were the most accurate and the best performing ones across all five research sites. The EL-Sabaii, Ert Yal and Clemence models showed the poorest performance at all five stations. The evaluation of the impact of the predicted solar radiation on the Penman-Monteith ETo showed that predicted solar radiation had non-significant effect of the daily ETo with a regression slope varying from 0.978 to 1.022, RMSE from 0.24 to 0.48 mm/day, MAE from 0.15 to 0.31 mm/day and MBE from -0.03 to 0.09 mm/day. All solar radiation models showed best performance at Farmington and Tucumcari while they registered the poorest performance at Alcalde. The Student T-test revealed non-significant differences between the daily ETo using the measured solar radiation data set and the predicted solar radiation by each of the twenty solar radiation models at each weather station. The new models developed in this study could be used to estimate daily solar radiation across the semiarid environment of New Mexico for satisfactory estimation of ETo.


solar radiation, prediction, reference evapotranspiration, semiarid climate