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Water 2017, 9(3), 155; doi:10.3390/w9030155

Temporal Downscaling of Crop Coefficients for Winter Wheat in the North China Plain: A Case Study at the Gucheng Agro-Meteorological Experimental Station

1
State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
2
Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Urbanization and Geo-simulation, School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
3
Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA
4
Departments of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
5
Institute of Atmospheric Environment, China Meteorological Administration, Shenyang 110166, China
6
Institute of Meteorological Sciences of Liaoning Province, Shenyang 110166, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Arjen Y. Hoekstra
Received: 23 November 2016 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract

The crop coefficient (Kc) is widely used for operational estimation of actual evapotranspiration (ETa) and crop water requirements. The standard method for obtaining Kc is via a lookup table from FAO-56 (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Irrigation and Drainage Paper No. 56), which broadly treats Kc as a function of four crop-growing stages. However, the distinctive physiological characteristics of overwintering crops, such as winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), which is extensively planted in the North China Plain (NCP), are not addressed in this method. In this study, we propose a stage-wise method that accounts for Kc variations for winter wheat at each critical phenological stage, thereby estimating Kc at finer temporal scales. Compared with the conventional FAO method, the proposed stage-wise method successfully captures the bimodal pattern in Kc time series for winter wheat, which is shown at both ten-day and phenological time scales. In addition, the accuracies of the proposed stage-wise Kc method and the FAO method were evaluated using micro-meteorological measurements of ETa collected at the Gucheng agrometeorological experimental station in the NCP. Using a leave-one-out strategy, the evaluation revealed that the stage-wise method significantly outperformed the FAO method at both daily and critical phenological time scales, with root-mean-square errors in ETa for the stage-wise method and the FAO method being 0.07 mm·day-1 and 0.16 mm·day-1, respectively, at the daily time scale, and 0.01 mm·day-1 and 0.27 mm·day-1 at the critical phenological time scale. Generally, the FAO method underestimates ETa during the initial stage and overestimates ETa during both the development and mid-season stages. It is shown that the proposed stage-wise method is important for the water-stressed NCP where precision irrigation is highly desirable, especially during the critical phenological stages. Results from this study provide insight into accurate estimation of water requirements for winter wheat at phenological time scales. View Full-Text
Keywords: winter wheat; evapotranspiration; crop coefficients; phenological stages; stage-wise method; North China Plain winter wheat; evapotranspiration; crop coefficients; phenological stages; stage-wise method; North China Plain
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, P.; Qiu, J.; Huo, Z.; Anderson, M.C.; Zhou, Y.; Bai, Y.; Liu, T.; Ren, S.; Feng, R.; Chen, P. Temporal Downscaling of Crop Coefficients for Winter Wheat in the North China Plain: A Case Study at the Gucheng Agro-Meteorological Experimental Station. Water 2017, 9, 155.

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