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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-313
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-313
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 07 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 07 Oct 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Evaluation of the WMO-SPICE transfer functions for adjusting the wind bias in solid precipitation measurements

Craig D. Smith1, Amber Ross1,2, John Kochendorfer3, Michael E. Earle4, Mareile Wolff5, Samuel Buisan6, Yves-Alain Roulet7, and Timo Laine8 Craig D. Smith et al.
  • 1Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Saskatoon, S7N 3H5, Canada
  • 2Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, S7N 3H5, Canada
  • 3Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division, ARL, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oak Ridge, 37830, USA
  • 4Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Dartmouth, B2Y 2N6, Canada
  • 5Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, 0313, Norway
  • 6Delegación Territorial de AEMET (Spanish National Meteorological Agency) en Aragon, Zaragoza, 50007, Spain
  • 7MeteoSwiss, Payerne, 1530, Switzerland
  • 8Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, 00101, Finland

Abstract. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Solid Precipitation Inter-Comparison Experiment (SPICE) involved extensive field intercomparisons of automated instruments for measuring snow during the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 winter seasons. A key outcome of SPICE was the development of transfer functions for the wind bias adjustment of solid precipitation measurements using various precipitation gauge and windshield configurations. Due to the short intercomparison period, the dataset was not sufficiently large to develop and evaluate transfer functions using independent precipitation measurements. The present analysis uses data collected at eight SPICE sites over the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 winter periods, comparing 30-minute adjusted and unadjusted measurements from Geonor T-200B3 and OTT Pluvio2 precipitation gauges in different shield configurations to the WMO Double Fence Automated Reference (DFAR) for the verification of the transfer function. Performance is assessed in terms of relative total catch (RTC), root mean square error (RMSE), and Pearson correlation (r), and Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) for all precipitation types, and for snow only. The evaluation shows that the performance varies substantially by site. Adjusted RTC varies from 54 % to 123 %, RMSE from 0.07 mm to 0.38 mm, and r from 0.28 to 0.94 and NSE from −1.88 to 0.89, depending on precipitation phase, site, and gauge configuration. Generally, windier sites such as Haukeliseter (Norway) and Bratt's Lake (Canada) exhibit a net under-adjustment (17 % to 46 %), while the less windy sites such as Sodankylä (Finland) and Caribou Creek (Canada) exhibit a net over-adjustment (2 % to 23 %). Although the application of transfer functions is necessary to mitigate wind bias in solid precipitation measurements, especially at windy sites and for unshielded gauges, the inconsistency in the performance metrics among sites suggests that the functions be applied with caution.

Craig D. Smith et al.
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Short summary
During the WMO Solid Precipitation Inter-Comparison Experiment (SPICE), transfer functions were developed to adjust the automated gauge measurement of solid precipitation for the systematic bias due to wind. The transfer functions were developed by combining data from eight SPICE sites in an attempt to make them more universally applicable in a range of climates. This analysis is an assessment of the performance of those transfer functions using data collected following the end of SPICE.
During the WMO Solid Precipitation Inter-Comparison Experiment (SPICE), transfer functions were...
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