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Comparison of 15 evaporation methods applied to a small mountain lake in the northeastern USA

January 1, 2007

Few detailed evaporation studies exist for small lakes or reservoirs in mountainous settings. A detailed evaporation study was conducted at Mirror Lake, a 0.15 km2 lake in New Hampshire, northeastern USA, as part of a long-term investigation of lake hydrology. Evaporation was determined using 14 alternate evaporation methods during six open-water seasons and compared with values from the Bowen-ratio energy-budget (BREB) method, considered the standard. Values from the Priestley-Taylor, deBruin-Keijman, and Penman methods compared most favorably with BREB-determined values. Differences from BREB values averaged 0.19, 0.27, and 0.20 mm d-1, respectively, and results were within 20% of BREB values during more than 90% of the 37 monthly comparison periods. All three methods require measurement of net radiation, air temperature, change in heat stored in the lake, and vapor pressure, making them relatively data intensive. Several of the methods had substantial bias when compared with BREB values and were subsequently modified to eliminate bias. Methods that rely only on measurement of air temperature, or air temperature and solar radiation, were relatively cost-effective options for measuring evaporation at this small New England lake, outperforming some methods that require measurement of a greater number of variables. It is likely that the atmosphere above Mirror Lake was affected by occasional formation of separation eddies on the lee side of nearby high terrain, although those influences do not appear to be significant to measured evaporation from the lake when averaged over monthly periods.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2007
Title Comparison of 15 evaporation methods applied to a small mountain lake in the northeastern USA
DOI 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2007.03.018
Authors Donald O. Rosenberry, Thomas C. Winter, D.C. Buso, G.E. Likens
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Hydrology
Index ID 70031134
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

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