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On the Uncertainties Associated with Using Gridded Rainfall Data as a Proxy for Observed : Volume 8, Issue 5 (15/09/2011)

By Tozer, C. R.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004013030
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 35
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: On the Uncertainties Associated with Using Gridded Rainfall Data as a Proxy for Observed : Volume 8, Issue 5 (15/09/2011)  
Author: Tozer, C. R.
Volume: Vol. 8, Issue 5
Language: English
Subject: Science, Hydrology, Earth
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Kiem, A. S., Verdon-Kidd, D. C., & Tozer, C. R. (2011). On the Uncertainties Associated with Using Gridded Rainfall Data as a Proxy for Observed : Volume 8, Issue 5 (15/09/2011). Retrieved from

Description: Environmental and Climate Change Research Group, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and IT, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Gridded rainfall datasets are used in many hydrological and climatological studies, in Australia and elsewhere, including for hydroclimatic forecasting, climate attribution studies and climate model performance assessments. The attraction of the spatial coverage provided by gridded data is clear, particularly in Australia where the spatial and temporal resolution of the rainfall gauge network is sparse. However, the question that must be asked is whether it is suitable to use gridded data as a proxy for observed point data, given that gridded data is inherently smoothed and may not necessarily capture the temporal and spatial variability of Australian rainfall which leads to hydroclimatic extremes (i.e. droughts, floods)? This study investigates this question through a statistical analysis of three monthly gridded Australian rainfall datasets – the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) dataset, the Australian Water Availability Project (AWAP) and the SILO dataset. To demonstrate the hydrological implications of using gridded data as a proxy for gauged data, a rainfall-runoff model is applied to one catchment in South Australia (SA) initially using gridded data as the source of rainfall input and then gauged rainfall data. The results indicate a markedly different runoff response associated with each of the different sources of rainfall data. It should be noted that this study does not seek to identify which gridded dataset is the best for Australia, as each gridded data source has its pros and cons, as does gauged or point data. Rather the intention is to quantify differences between various gridded data sources and how they compare with gauged data so that these differences can be considered and accounted for in studies that utilise these gridded datasets. Ultimately, if key decisions are going to be based on the outputs of models that use gridded data, an estimate (or at least an understanding) of the uncertainties relating to the assumptions made in the development of gridded data and how that gridded data compares with reality should be made.

On the uncertainties associated with using gridded rainfall data as a proxy for observed

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