In many hydrological models, the amount of evapotranspired water is calculated using the potential evapotranspiration (PET) approach. The main driver of several PET approaches is net radiation, whose downward components are usually obtained from meteorological input data, whereas the upward components are calculated by the model itself. Thus, uncertainties can be large due to both the input data and model assumptions. In this study, we compare the radiation components of the WaterGAP Global Hydrology Model, driven by two meteorological input datasets and two radiation setups from ERA-Interim reanalysis. We assess the performance with respect to monthly observations provided by the Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) and the Global Energy Balance Archive (GEBA). The assessment is done for the global land area and specifically for energy/water limited regions. The results indicate that there is no optimal radiation input throughout the model variants, but standard meteorological input datasets perform better than those directly obtained by ERA-Interim reanalysis for the key variable net radiation. The low number of observations for some radiation components, as well as the scale mismatch between station observations and 0.5° × 0.5° grid cell size, limits the assessment.
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