Campus Units

Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

Document Type


Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Journal of Hydrometeorology





First Page


Last Page





Satellite-derived potential evapotranspiration (PET) estimates computed from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) observations and the Priestley-Taylor formula (M-PET) are evaluated as input to the Hydrology Laboratory Research Distributed Hydrologic Model (HL-RDHM). The HL-RDHM is run at a 4-km spatial and 6-h temporal resolution for 13 watersheds in the upper Mississippi and Red River basins for 2003-10. Simulated discharge using inputs of daily M-PET is evaluated for all watersheds, and simulated evapotranspiration (ET) is evaluated at two watersheds using nearby latent heat flux observations. M-PET-derived model simulations are compared to output using the long-term average PET values (default-PET) provided as part of theHL-RDHMapplication. In addition, uncalibrated and calibrated simulations are evaluated for both PET data sources. Calibrating select model parameters is found to substantially improve simulated discharge for both datasets. Overall average percent bias (PBias) and Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) values for simulated discharge are better from the default-PET than the M-PET for the calibrated models during the verification period, indicating that the time-varying M-PET input did not improve the discharge simulation in theHL-RDHM. M-PET tends to produce higher NSE values than the default-PET for the Wisconsin and Minnesota basins, but lower NSE values for the Iowa basins. M-PET-simulated ET matches the range and variability of observed ET better than the default-PET at two sites studied and may provide potential model improvements in that regard.


This article is from Journal of Hydrometeorology 16 (2015): 129, doi: 10.1175/JHM-D-14-0047.1. Posted with permission.


© Copyright 2015 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act September 2010 Page 2 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at ( or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or

Copyright Owner

American Meteorological Society



File Format