Evaluation of NASA Satellite‐ and Model‐Derived Weather Data for Simulation of Maize Yield Potential in China
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Use of crop models is frequently constrained by lack of the required weather data. This paper evaluates satellite-based solar radiation and model-derived air temperature (maximum temperature, T-max; minimum temperature, T-min) from NASA and their utility for simulating maize (Zea mays L.) yield potential at 39 locations in Chinas major maize-producing regions. The reference data in this evaluation were the corresponding ground-observed weather data and simulated yield using these data. NASA weather data were closely correlated with data from ground weather stations with an r(2) > 0.8, but a systematic underestimation of air temperature was found (T-max of -2.8 degrees C; T-min of -1.4 degrees C). As a result, use of NASA data alone for yield simulation gave poor agreement with simulated yields using ground weather data (r(2) = 0.2). The simulations of yield potential using satellite-derived solar radiation, coupled with temperature data from ground stations, agreed well with simulated results using complete ground weather data in three of the five regions (r(2) > 0.9). The agreement in the other two regions was relatively poor (r(2) = 0.62 and 0.64). Across all 710 site-years evaluated, the agreement was shown with a mean error (ME) = 0.2 t ha(-1), a root mean square error (RMSE) = 0.6 t ha(-1), and r(2) = 0.9. Our results indicate that combining NASA solar radiation with ground-station temperature data provides an option for filling geospatial gaps in weather data for estimating maize yield potential in China.
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