AbstractPrecipitation is a primary climate forcing factor in catchment hydrology, and its spatial distribution is essential for understanding the spatial variability of ecohydrological processes in a catchment. In mountainous areas, meteorological stations are generally too sparse to represent the spatial distribution of precipitation. This study develops a spatial interpolation method that combines meteorological observations and regional climate model (RCM) outputs. The method considers the precipitation–elevation relationship in the mountain region and the topographic effects, especially the mountain blocking effect. Furthermore, using this method, this study produced a 3-km-resolution precipitation dataset from 1960 to 2014 in the middle and upper reaches of the Heihe River basin located on the northern slope of the Qilian Mountains in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau. Cross validation based on the station observations showed that this method is reasonable. The rationality of the interpolated precipitation data was also evaluated by the catchment water balances using the observed river discharge and the actual evapotranspiration based on remote sensing. The interpolated precipitation data were compared with the China Gauge-Based Daily Precipitation Analysis product and the RCM output and was shown to be optimal. The results showed that the proposed method effectively used the information from the meteorological observations and the RCM simulations and provided the spatial distributions of daily precipitations with reasonable accuracy and high resolution, which is important for a distributed hydrological simulation at the catchment scale.
Journal of Hydrometeorology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Mar 9, 2017
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