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Evaluation of precipitation forecasting with the limited area model ALADIN in an alpine watershed

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The applicability of high-resolution precipitation forecasts in hydrological prediction systems for small- to medium-sized Alpine watersheds has to be evaluated. Here, this is performed for precipitation forecasts simulated by the operational limited area model (LAM) ALADIN (grid spacing Δx = 10 km) in one Alpine watershed (total area: 2627 km2). The impact of simple post-processing of the model forecast fields by up-, downscaling, and by grid box shifting is quantified. The forecasts are directly evaluated against daily and hourly precipitation analyses and indirectly by application in hydrological modeling with WaSiM-ETH (Δx = 500 m, Δt = 1 h). The application of a hydrological model makes precipitation comparable with well observed watershed discharge. Main results are: (a) LAM precipitation forecasts are useful in Alpine watershed hydrology, but (b) there is intermittent failure of precipitation forecasts within the scales of the meteorological forecast system, and (c) limited spatial grid resolution of the precipitation fields generates substantial uncertainties in peak precipitation and runoff (10% and more).

Die Anwendbarkeit hochaufgelöster Niederschlagsvorhersagen in hydrologischen Prognosesystemen für Einzugsgebiete kleiner und mittlerer Größe muß evaluiert werden. In dieser Arbeit wird dies für Vorhersagen des operationellen Ausschnittsmodells ALADIN (Gitterpunktsabstand 10 km) in einem alpinen Einzugsgebiet (Fläche: 2627 km2) durchgeführt. Die Auswirkung einfacher Nachbearbeitung der Modellvorhersagen mittels up-, downscaling und Gitterboxverschiebung wird quantifiziert. Die Vorhersagen werden direkt evaluiert im Vergleich mit täglichen und stündlichen Niederschlagsanalysen und indirekt durch Anwendung des hydrologischen Modells WaSiM-ETH (Δx = 500 m, Δt = 1 h). Die Anwendung eines hydrologischen Modells macht Niederschläge mit beobachteten Gebietsabflüssen vergleichbar. Wichtigste Ergebnisse sind: (a) die Niederschlagsprognose des Ausschnittsmodells ist nützlich in der Hydrologie alpiner Einzugsgebiete, aber (b) Niederschlag ist zeitweise auf den Skalen des meteorologischen Systems schlecht vorhergesagt, und (c) die limitierte räumliche Auflösung der Niederschlagsprognosen generiert substantielle Fehler in Niederschlagsund Abflußspitzen (10% und mehr).
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-10-01

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  • Meteorologische Zeitschrift (originally founded in 1866) is the joint periodical of the meteorological societies of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. It accepts high-quality peer-reviewed manuscripts on all aspects of observational, theoretical and computational research out of the entire field of meteorology, including climatology. Meteorologische Zeitschrift represents a natural forum for the meteorological community of Central Europe and worldwide.
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