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Using the dual approach of FAO-56 for partitioning ET into soil and plant components for olive orchards in a semi-arid region

Abstract : The main goal of this research was to evaluate the potential of the dual approach of FAO-56 for estimating actual crop evapotranspiration (AET) and its components (crop transpiration and soil evaporation) of an olive (Olea europaea L) orchard in the semi-arid region of Tensift-basin (central of Morocco). Two years (2003 and 2004) of continuous measurements of AET with the eddy-covariance technique were used to test the performance of the model. The results showed that, by using the local values of basal crop coefficients, the approach simulates reasonably well AET over two growing seasons. The Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) between measured and simulated AET values during 2003 and 2004 were respectively about 0.54 and 0.71 mm per day. The basal crop coefficient (K-cb) value obtained for the olive orchard was similar in both seasons with an average of 0.54. This value was lower than that suggested by the FAO-56 (0.62). Similarly, the single approach of FAO-56 has been tested in the previous work (Er-Raki et al., 2008) over the same study site and it has been shown that this approach also simulates correctly AET when using the local crop coefficient and under no stress conditions. Since the dual approach predicts separately soil evaporation and plant transpiration, an attempt was made to compare the simulated components of AET with measurements obtained through a combination of eddy covariance and scaled-up sap flow measurements. The results showed that the model gives an acceptable estimate of plant transpiration and soil evaporation. The associated RMSE of plant transpiration and soil evaporation were 0.59 and 0.73 mm per day, respectively. Additionally, the irrigation efficiency was investigated by comparing the irrigation scheduling design used by the farmer to those recommended by the FAO model. It was found that although the amount of irrigation applied by the farmer (800 mm) during the growing season of olives was twice that recommended one by the FAO model (411 mm), the vegetation suffered from water stress during the summer. Such behaviour can be explained by inadequate distribution of irrigation. Consequently, the FAO model can be considered as a potentially useful tool for planning irrigation schedules on an operational basis.
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S. Er-Raki, A. Chehbouni, G. Boulet, D. G. Williams. Using the dual approach of FAO-56 for partitioning ET into soil and plant components for olive orchards in a semi-arid region. Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier Masson, 2010, 97 (11), pp.1769-1778. ⟨10.1016/j.agwat.2010.06.009⟩. ⟨ird-00667360⟩



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