Rainfall interpolation uncertainty

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Typical quantitative results of rainfall uncertainty studies: Interpolation.[edit]

This table originated from McMillan et al. (2012) but is now open to the community to add to and use as a resource.

SD = standard deviation

Uncertainty Type Estimation Method Magnitude Location Reference
Rainfall variability in convective events 48 non-recording gauges on 30 m grid over 4.4 ha catchment 4-14 % variation of mean storm rainfall over 100 m distance; -5.6 % greatest difference between areal mean & 4 co-located central gauges USDA Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed, Arizona, USA. 4.4 ha, semi-arid, 1250-1585 m a.s.l. Goodrich et al. (1995)
Standard error in single gauge measurement vs. gauge network 8 rain gauges within a 2 km2 area 33 % (low relief), 45 % (high relief) at 4 mm/15 min rain rate; 90% confidence bounds on the standard error, dependent on rain rate, are also given graphically Brue catchment, UK (135 km2). 20-250 m a.s.l., temperate climate, orographic rainfall. Wood et al. (2000)
49 rain gauges in 135 km2 area 65 % at 4 mm/15 min rain rate; presented graphically for rain rates 0.2-8 mm/15 min and for three different gauges
SD of rainfall rates within 5 km2 area for accumulation periods between 5 min and 1 hour 5 clusters, each of 12-40 rain gauges 12.2, 12.0, 16.1, 7.7 & 9.8 mm h-1 for 5 min totals over 57-515 days, conditioned on rain rates greater than 0.5 mm h-1 Gauge clusters in Guam, Brazil, Florida, Oklahoma, Iowa Krajewski et al. (2003); also looked at correlation statistics up to 8 km distance with significant reductions
Multiplier from 3-gauge average to areal mean rainfall Conditional simulation using 13 raingauges to generate ensemble of spatial rainfall fields Rainfall multipliers have mean 1.15 ± 0.03, standard deviation 0.27 ± 0.02 when accounting separately for rainfall, runoff and structural uncertainty. Yzeron catchment (129 km2), Rhone-Alpes region, France. 400-917 m a.s.l.. Rainfall 845 mm yr-1, runoff 150 mm yr-1. Renard et al. (2011)

References[edit]

Goodrich, D.C., Faures, J.M., Woolhiser, D.A., Lane, L.J., Sorooshian, S., 1995. Measurement and analysis of small-scale convective storm rainfall variability. Journal of Hydrology, 173(1-4): 283-308.

Krajewski, W.F., Ciach, G.J., Habib, E., 2003. An analysis of small-scale rainfall variability in different climatic regimes. Hydrological Sciences Journal-Journal Des Sciences Hydrologiques, 48(2): 151-162.

McMillan, H., Krueger, T., Freer, J., 2012. Benchmarking observational uncertainties for hydrology: Rainfall, river discharge and water quality. Hydrological Processes 26(26): 4078–4111

Renard, B., Kavetski, D., Leblois, E., Thyer, M., Kuczera, G., 2011. Towards a reliable decomposition of predictive uncertainty in hydrological modelling : characterizing rainfall errors using conditional simulation, Water Resources Research, 47: W11516. doi:10.1029/2011WR010643

Wood, S.J., Jones, D.A., Moore, R.J., 2000. Accuracy of rainfall measurement for scales of hydrological interest. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 4(4): 531-543.