Articles | Volume 10, issue 3
11 Mar 2010
 | 11 Mar 2010

An approach to combine radar and gauge based rainfall data under consideration of their qualities in low mountain ranges of Saxony

N. Jatho, T. Pluntke, C. Kurbjuhn, and C. Bernhofer

Abstract. An approach to combine gauge and radar data and additional quality information is presented. The development was focused on the improvement of the diagnostic for temporal (one hour) and spatial (1×1 km2) highly resolved precipitation data. The method is embedded in an online tool and was applied to the target area Saxony, Germany. The aim of the tool is to provide accurate spatial rainfall estimates. The results can be used for rainfall run-off modelling, e.g. in a flood management system.

Quality information allows a better assessment of the input data and the resulting precipitation field. They are stored in corresponding fields and represent the static and dynamic uncertainties of radar and gauge data. Objective combination of various precipitation and quality fields is realised using a cost function.

The findings of cross validation reveal that the proposed combination method merged the benefits and disadvantages of interpolated gauge and radar data and leads to mean estimates. The sampling point validation implies that the presented method slightly overestimated the areal rain as well as the high rain intensities in case of convective and advective events, while the results of pure interpolation method performed better. In general, the use of presented cost function avoids false rainfall amount in areas of low input data quality and improves the reliability in areas of high data quality. It is obvious that the combined product includes the small-scale variability of radar, which is seen as the important benefit of the presented combination approach. Local improvements of the final rain field are possible due to consideration of gauges that were not used for radar calibration, e.g. in topographic distinct regions.