|Accurate estimation of reference evapotranspiration (RET) is important to quantify crop evapotranspiration for sustainable water resource management in hydrological, agricultural, and environmental fields. It is estimated by different methods from direct measurements with lysimeters, or by many empirical equations suggested by numerous modeling using local climatic variables. The potential to use some such equations depends on the availability of the necessary meteorological parameters for calculating the RET in specific climatic conditions. The objective of this study was to determine the proper RET equations using limited climatic data and to analyze the temporal and spatial trends of the RET in South Korea. We evaluated the FAO-56 Penman-Monteith equation (FAO-56 PM) by comparing several simple RET equations and observed small fan evaporation. In this study, the modified Penman equation, Hargreaves equation, and FAO Penman-Monteith equation with missing solar radiation (PM-Rs) data were tested to estimate the RET. Nine weather stations were considered with limited climatic data across South Korea from 1973 - 2017, and the RET equations were calculated for each weather station as well as the analysis of the mean error (ME), mean absolute error (MAE), and root mean square error (RMSE). The FAO-56 PM recommended by the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) showed good performance even though missing solar radiation, relative humidity, and wind speed data and could still be adapted to the limited data conditions. As a result, the RET was increased, and the evapotranspiration rate was increased more in coastal areas than inland.