Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2016-511
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
13 Oct 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.
Evaluation of various daily precipitation products for large-scale hydro-climatic applications over Canada
Jefferson S. Wong1, Saman Razavi1, Barrie R. Bonsal2, Howard S. Wheater1, and Zilefac E. Asong1 1Global Institute for Water Security and School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, 11 Innovation Blvd, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 3H5
2Environment and Climate Change Canada, 11 Innovation Blvd, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 3H5
Abstract. A number of global and regional gridded climate products based on multiple data sources and models are available that can potentially provide better and more reliable estimates of precipitation for climate and hydrological studies. However, research into the reliability of these products for various regions has been limited and in many cases non-existent. This study identifies several gridded precipitation products over Canada and develops a systematic analysis framework to assess the characteristics of errors associated with the different datasets, using the best available adjusted precipitation-gauge data as a benchmark over the period 1979 to 2012. The framework quantifies the spatial and temporal variability of the errors over 15 terrestrial ecozones in Canada for different seasons at the daily time scale. Results showed that most of the products were relatively skillful in central Canada but tended to underestimate precipitation amounts on the east coast and overestimate on the west. The global product by WATCH Forcing Data ERA-Interim (WFDEI) augmented by Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) data (WFDEI [GPCC]) performed best with respect to different metrics. The Canadian Precipitation Analysis (CaPA) product of Meteorological Service of Canada, performed comparably with WFDEI [GPCC], however it only provides data from 2002. All the products performed best in summer, followed by autumn, spring, and winter in order of decreasing quality. Due to the sparse observational network, northern Canada (above 60° N) was most difficult to assess with the majority of products tending to significantly underestimate total precipitation. Results from this study can be used as a guidance for potential users regarding the performance of different precipitation products for a range of geographical regions and time periods.

Citation: Wong, J. S., Razavi, S., Bonsal, B. R., Wheater, H. S., and Asong, Z. E.: Evaluation of various daily precipitation products for large-scale hydro-climatic applications over Canada, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-511, in review, 2016.
Jefferson S. Wong et al.
Jefferson S. Wong et al.

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Short summary
This study was conducted to quantify the spatial and temporal variability of the errors associated with various gridded precipitation products in Canada. Overall, WFDEI [GPCC] and CaPA performed best with respect to different performance measures, followed by ANUSPLIN and WEDEI [CRU]. Princeton and NARR demonstrated the lowest quality. Comparing the climate model-simulated products, PCIC ensembles generally performed better than NA-CORDEX ensembles in terms of reliability in four seasons.
This study was conducted to quantify the spatial and temporal variability of the errors...
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