Evaluation of the rainfall component of a weather generator for climate impact studies

Elshamy, Mohamed Ezzat; Wheater, Howard S.; Gedney, Nicola; Huntingford, Chris. 2006 Evaluation of the rainfall component of a weather generator for climate impact studies. Journal of Hydrology, 326. 1-24.

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Hydrological impacts of climate change are frequently assessed by off-line forcing of a hydrological model with climatic scenarios from either Global Circulation Models (GCMs) or simpler analogue models. Most hydrological models require a daily time step or smaller while observed climatology and GCM and analogue model output is generally available on a monthly time step. This study investigates and improves a rainfall disaggregation model currently used to convert monthly rainfall totals down to the daily time step. The performance of the model is evaluated using daily data from a network of raingauges covering the Nile basin and contrasted with data from a relatively dense raingauge network from the Blackwater Catchment, in the Southeast of the UK. Whilst the model preserves the mean properties of rainfall occurrence and depth, there is significant overestimation of rainfall variability. Regional calibration and better formulation of the generator improve simulation of variability as well as other aspects of rainfall properties. Hence the parameters required by the weather generator model cannot be regarded as universal. Proportional correction of daily amounts is applied to insure that monthly totals are preserved, allowing retention of interannual variability, and this was shown to have little effect on the distribution of wet day amounts. The calibration of parameter estimation equations has investigated spatial dependence of climate variables and parameters and found that (as expected) rainfall properties exhibit scale-dependence, which may be utilized to transfer data from one spatial scale to another. In order to complete the framework, a model is developed to estimate the wet fraction from monthly total when the former is not available.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Water
CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Other
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: _ Process Hydrology
ISSN: 0022-1694
Additional Keywords: Climate modeling, Rainfall, Disaggregation, Spatial scale, Nile, UK, Weather generator
NORA Subject Terms: Meteorology and Climatology
Date made live: 29 Jun 2007 13:45 +0 (UTC)

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