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Comparison of different methods in estimating potential evapotranspiration at Muda Irrigation Scheme of Malaysia
Evapotranspiration (ET) is a complex process in the hydrological cycle that influences the quantity of runoff and thus the irrigation water requirements. Numerous methods have been developed to estimate potential evapotranspiration (PET). Unfortunately, most of the reliable PET methods are parameter rich models and therefore, not feasible for application in data scarce regions. On the other hand, accuracy and reliability of simple PET models vary widely according to regional climate conditions. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the performance of three temperature-based and three radiation-based simple ET methods in estimating historical ET and projecting future ET at Muda Irrigation Scheme at Kedah, Malaysia. The performance was measured by comparing those methods with the parameter intensive Penman-Monteith Method. It was found that radiation based methods gave better performance compared to temperature-based methods in estimation of ET in the study area. Future ET simulated from projected climate data obtained through statistical downscaling technique also showed that radiation-based methods can project closer ET values to that projected by Penman-Monteith Method. It is expected that the study will guide in selecting suitable methods for estimating and projecting ET in accordance to availability of meteorological data.