An international team of scientists has released updated and improved estimations of Potential Evapotranspiration and an Aridity Index for the entire world, based upon a fully parameterized geospatial implementation of the Penman-Monteith Equation, a standard methodology widely used and recognized. The peer-reviewed article describing the database, which has a global coverage at a very high spatial resolution of approximately 1 km2, has recently been published in the Nature journal – Scientific Data entitled "Version 3 of the Global Aridity Index and Potential Evapotranspiration Database", and provides a technical evaluation of the dataset using real-world weather station data.
Citation: Zomer, R.J.; Xu, J.; Trabuco, A. 2022. Version 3 of the Global Aridity Index and Potential Evapotranspiration Database. Scientific Data 9, 409. (Image by KIB).
This database has already shown itself to be a valuable global public good. Earlier versions of the “Global Aridity Index and Potential Evapotranspiration Database” have been available online since 2009, and have already been downloaded nearly 50,000 times and applied across a wide range of disciplines, with nearly 1500 citations on topics ranging from agricultural and natural resource science, to genetics, anthropology, archaeology, conflict resolution, and climate change.
Said lead author Dr. Robert Zomer, a Presidential Fellow at the Center for Mountain Futures – Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences(KIB/CAS), “These datasets have been found useful across a wide variety of applications, particularly related, but not limited to water management and crop production, but also socio-ecological and socio-economic applications addressing sustainable development and climate change and can be particularly useful for local adaptation to global change.”
Prof. XU Jianchu from Kunming Institute of Botany, also principal scientist of World Agroforestry Centre, said that “the high resolution of Global Aridity Index provides great potential to map the climatic-related and environmental risks for human and all form of life need water, therefore important for conservation and development planning.”
The topics of papers citing this dataset range from global environmental issues such as drought and wildfires, to human migration, pastoralism and desertification, wildlife and restoration ecology, child mortality, and epidemiological and other human and livestock health research, such as the effect of malaria control, or mapping the zoonotic niche of Ebola virus disease in Africa.
Dr. Antonio Trabucco of the Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC) emphasized the utility of this new, latest release, “Not only is the data improved, but publishing the source code used to develop this analysis makes it available for local and specific applications using local data, improved, or updated climate data. We think that this database, and its source code, provide robust tools that can help to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing global aridity environment”.