A number of methods have been developed to estimate reference crop evapotranspiration (ETo), but most of the reliable methods are complex and parameter rich models and therefore difficult to apply in data scarce regions. This study was conducted to determine suitable simple ETo methods in Cape Coast by comparing estimated ETo values of three indirect-measurement methods: Hamon, Hargreaves, Blaney Criddle; and two direct-measurement methods: Class A pan and Piche evaporimeter with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Penman-Monteith equation (FAO56-PM) estimated ETo values. All the methods underestimated ETo values obtained by the FAO56-PM method. However, the estimated ETo values by the Hamon, Hargreaves, and Blaney-Criddle are strongly correlated (R = 0.89, 0.87 and 0.81 respectively), while the Class A pan and Piche evaporimeter methods are weakly correlated (R= 0.37 and 0.31, respectively) with the FAO56-PM method. All but the Piche evaporimeter methods appeared suitable for estimating ETo in the study area. The Class A pan, though weakly correlated with the FAO56-PM method, was also suitable because it had the least mean absolute error (MAE; 0.26 mm day-1) and mean absolute percentage error (MAPE; 6.5%) among the other methods and its ETo curve was closer to the FAO56-PM’s.
Key words: Reference crop evapotranspiration, Cape Coast, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Penman-Monteith equation, direct-measurement method.
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