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A comparison of gauge and radar precipitation data for simulating an extreme hydrological event in the Severn Uplands, UK

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/02/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Hydrological Processes
Issue number5
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)795-810
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date7/10/10
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper provides a comparison of gauge and radar precipitation data sources during an extreme hydrological event. November–December 2006 was selected as a time period of intense rainfall and large river flows for the Severn Uplands, an upland catchment in the United Kingdom. A comparison between gauge and radar precipitation time-series records for the event indicated discrepancies between data sources, particularly in areas of higher elevation. The HEC-HMS rainfall-runoff model was selected to assess the accuracy of the precipitation to simulate river flows for the extreme event. Gauge, radar and gauge-corrected radar rainfall were used as model inputs. Universal cokriging was used to geostatistically interpolate gauge data with radar and elevation data as covariates. This interpolated layer was used to calculate the mean-field bias and correct the radar composites. Results indicated that gauge- and gauge-corrected radar-driven models replicated flows adequately for the extreme event. Gauge-corrected flow predictions produced an increase in flow prediction accuracy when compared with the raw radar, yet predictions were comparative in accuracy to those using the interpolated gauge network. Subsequent investigations suggested this was due to an adequate spatial and temporal resolution of the precipitation gauge network within the Severn Uplands. Results suggested that the six rain gauges could adequately represent precipitation variability of the Severn Uplands to predict flows at an approximately equal accuracy to that obtained by radar. Temporally, radar produced an increase in flow prediction accuracy in mountainous reaches once the gauge time step was in excessive of an hourly interval.

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