Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2016-349
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
15 Sep 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Validation of a new SAFRAN-based gridded precipitation product for Spain and comparisons to Spain02 and ERA-Interim
Pere Quintana-Seguí1, Marco Turco2, Sixto Herrera3, and Gonzalo Miguez-Macho4 1Observatori de l’Ebre, (OE), CSIC – Universitat Ramon Llull . Horta Alta 38, 43520 Roquetes, Spain
2arcelona Supercomputing Center-Centro Nacional de Super computación (BSC-CNS), Carrer Jordi Girona 31, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
3Meteorology Group, Department of Applied Mathematics and C omputer Science, Universidad de Cantabria, Avenida de los Castros s/n, 39005 Santander, Spain
4Grupo de Física Non Lineal, Universidade de Santiago Compos tela, Calle Xosé María Suárez Núñez s/n., 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Abstract. Offline Land-Surface Model (LSM) simulations are useful for studying the continental hydrological cycle. Because of the nonlinearities in the models, the results are very sensitive to the quality of the meteorological forcing; thus, high-quality gridded datasets of screen-level meteorological variables are needed. Precipitation datasets are particularly difficult to produce due to the inherent spatial and temporal heterogeneity of that variable. They do, however, have a large impact on the simulations, and it is thus necessary to carefully evaluate their quality in great detail.

This paper reports the quality of two high-resolution precipitation datasets for Spain at the daily time scale: the new SAFRAN-based dataset and Spain02. SAFRAN is a meteorological analysis system that was designed to force LSMs and has recently been extended to the entirety of Spain for a long period of time (1979/80–2013/14). Spain02 is a daily precipitation dataset for Spain and was created mainly to validate Regional Climate Models. In addition, ERA-Interim is included in the comparison to show the differences between local high-resolution and global low-resolution products. The study compares the different precipitation analyses with rain gauge data and assesses their temporal and spatial similarities to the observations.

The results show that SAFRAN and Spain02 have very similar skill scores, although the later has better scores in general. As expected, SAFRAN and Spain02 perform better than ERA-Interim, which has difficulty capturing the effects of the relief on precipitation due to its low resolution. However, ERA-Interim reproduces spells remarkably well, in contrast to the low skill shown by the high-resolution products. The high-resolution gridded products overestimate the number of precipitation days, which is a problem that affects SAFRAN more than Spain02 and is likely caused by the interpolation method. Both SAFRAN and Spain02 underestimate high precipitation events, but SAFRAN does so more than Spain02. The overestimation of low precipitation events and the underestimation of intense episodes will probably have hydrological consequences once the data are used to force a land surface or hydrological model.


Citation: Quintana-Seguí, P., Turco, M., Herrera, S., and Miguez-Macho, G.: Validation of a new SAFRAN-based gridded precipitation product for Spain and comparisons to Spain02 and ERA-Interim, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-349, in review, 2016.
Pere Quintana-Seguí et al.
Pere Quintana-Seguí et al.

Data sets

SAFRAN analysis over Spain
P. Quintana-Seguí
doi:10.14768/MISTRALS-HYMEX.1388
Pere Quintana-Seguí et al.

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Short summary
The quality of two high-resolution precipitation datasets for Spain at the daily time scale is reported: the new SAFRAN-based dataset and Spain02. ERA-Interim is also included. The precipitation products are compared with observations. SAFRAN and Spain02 have very similar skill scores, and that they perform better than ERA-Interim. The high-resolution gridded products overestimate the number of precipitation days. Both SAFRAN and Spain02 underestimate high precipitation events.
The quality of two high-resolution precipitation datasets for Spain at the daily time scale is...
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