evaporation — Calculation of evaporation and transpiration

class evaporation.PenmanMonteith(albedo, elevation, latitude, step_length, longitude=None, nighttime_solar_radiation_ratio=None, unit_converters={})

Calculates evapotranspiration according to the Penman-Monteith equation. The methodology used is that of Allen et al. (1998). Details can be found in the code, which has comments indicating which equations it uses.

First the class is initialized with some parameters that are constant for the area of interest; then, the calculate() method can be called as many times as necessary in order to calculate reference evapotranspiration given the date and time and the values of the meteorological variables.

Evapotranspiration can be calculated either at a point or on a grid, so the input can be either simple scalar values or numpy arrays. The term “scalar or array”, when used below, signifies a parameter that can be either. You will normally either use all scalars or all arrays; however, when you generally use arrays, you may also use scalars for some of the parameters if you want the array to have the same value for all gridpoints; for example, you might want to have a single albedo value for all gridpoints.

The class is initialized with the following parameters:

albedo is either a scalar or array, or a sequence of 12 scalars or arrays. If it is a sequence, the first item is the albedo in January, the second is for February, and so on. If it is a single scalar or array, it is used for the entire year. The albedo is a number between 0 and 1.

elevation is a scalar or array with the location elevation above sea level in meters.

latitude and longitude are scalars or arrays, in decimal degrees north of the equator or east of the prime meridian (negative for west or south). Only latitude needs to be specified for calculating daily evaporation.

step_length is a datetime.timedelta object with the length of the time step; so, for example, to calculate daily evaporation, step_length must be one day, whereas for hourly evaporation it must one hour.

In order to estimate the outgoing radiation, the ratio of incoming solar radiation to clear sky solar radiation is used as a representation of cloud cover. However, when calculating hourly evaporation, this does not work during the night, in which case nighttime_solar_radiation_ratio is used as a rough approximation of that ratio. It should be a scalar or array between 0.4 and 0.8; see Allen et al. (1998), top of page 75.

The meteorological values that will be supplied after class initialization to the calculate() method are supposed to be in the following units:

Parameter Unit
humidity %
wind speed m/s
pressure kPa
solar radiation MJ/m²/h

If they are in different units, unit_converters is a dictionary with functions to convert them. For example, if you have pressure in hPa and solar radiation in W/m², you should specify this:

unit_converters = {
    'pressure': lambda x: x / 10.0,
    'solar_radiation': lambda x: x * 3600 / 1e6,

Any variable whose name is not found in unit_converters is used as is, without conversion.

calculate(self, **kwargs)

Calculates and returns the reference evapotranspiration in mm.

For daily step, the keyword arguments must be temperature_max, temperature_min, humidity_max, humidity_min, wind_speed, adatetime, and one of solar_radiation or sunshine_duration. adatetime must be a date object, not a datetime object, but it is named adatetime for consistency with the hourly step. The result is the reference evapotranspiration for the given day.

For hourly step, the keyword arguments must be temperature, humidity, wind_speed, solar_radiation, adatetime, and, optionally, pressure (if the pressure is not specified it is calculated from the elevation). The result is the reference evapotranspiration for the hour that ends at adatetime, which must be a timezone-aware datetime object.

class evaporation.VaporizeApp

This class contains the vaporize command-line application. The vaporize executable does little other than this:

application = VaporizeApp()


R. G. Allen, L. S. Pereira, D. Raes, and M. Smith, Crop evapotranspiration - Guidelines for computing crop water requirements, FAO Irrigation and drainage paper no. 56, 1998.