Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2016-441
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
19 Sep 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Sensitivity of potential evapotranspiration to changes in climate variables for different climatic zones
Danlu Guo, Seth Westra, and Holger R. Maier School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, the University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
Abstract. Understanding the factors that impact on the sensitivity of potential evapotranspiration (PET) to changes in different climate variables is critical to assessing the possible implications of anthropogenic climate change on the catchment water balance. Using global sensitivity analysis, this study assessed the implications of baseline climate conditions on the sensitivity of PET to a large range of plausible changes in temperature (T), relative humidity (RH), solar radiation (Rs) and wind speed (uz). The analysis was conducted at 30 Australian locations representing different climatic zones, using the Penman–Monteith and Priestley–Taylor PET models. Results from both models suggest that the baseline climate can have a substantial impact on overall PET sensitivity. In particular, approximately 2-fold greater changes in PET were observed in cool-climate energy-limited locations compared to other locations in Australia, indicating the potential for elevated water loss as a result of increasing actual evapotranspiration (AET) in these locations. The two PET models consistently indicated temperature to be the most important variable for PET, but showed large differences in the relative importance of the remaining climate variables. In particular, for the Penman–Monteith model wind and relative humidity were the second-most important variable for dry and humid catchments, respectively, whereas for the Priestley–Taylor model solar radiation was the second-most important variable, particularly for warmer catchments. This information can be useful to inform the selection of suitable PET models to estimate future PET for different climate conditions, providing evidence on both the structural plausibility and input uncertainty for the alternative models.

Citation: Guo, D., Westra, S., and Maier, H. R.: Sensitivity of potential evapotranspiration to changes in climate variables for different climatic zones, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-441, in review, 2016.
Danlu Guo et al.
Danlu Guo et al.
Danlu Guo et al.

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