IWA Publishing

Comparison of evaporation rate on open water bodies: energy balance estimate versus measured pan

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Much attention has been paid to establish accurately open water evaporation since the lake itself is the largest consumer of water. The aim of this study is to assess the discrepancy in the measured (pan evaporation) and estimated (Penman) evaporation rate, seasonally, based on the results from a 37-year energy budget analysis of Lake Burrumbeet, Australia. The detailed analysis of meteorological data showed that evaporation is fully radiation driven and that the effect of wind is minimal. Sensitivity analysis shows that evaporation estimation is more sensitive to shortwave radiation followed by relative humidity. An increase or decrease of estimated shortwave radiation by 10% could result in an increase or decrease of estimated evaporation up to 18%. The Penman combination method is relatively the least sensitive to wind speed but could bring a significant effect on the lake level fluctuation since a 10% increase of wind speed increases the estimated evaporation by 2.3%. The current analysis highlights the relative roles of radiation, temperature, humidity, and wind speed in modulating the rate of evaporation from the lake surface, by employing an inter-monthly seasonal adjustment factor to the estimated evaporation in the lake water budget analysis, with implications for the inter-monthly variability and short-term trends assessment of water resource through various meteorological parameters.

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