Considering rain gauge uncertainty using kriging for uncertain data

Francesca Cecinati*, Antonio M. Moreno-Ródenas, Miguel A. Rico-Ramirez, Marie Claire ten Veldhuis, Jeroen G. Langeveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


In urban hydrological models, rainfall is the main input and one of the main sources of uncertainty. To reach sufficient spatial coverage and resolution, the integration of several rainfall data sources, including rain gauges and weather radars, is often necessary. The uncertainty associated with rain gauge measurements is dependent on rainfall intensity and on the characteristics of the devices. Common spatial interpolation methods do not account for rain gauge uncertainty variability. Kriging for Uncertain Data (KUD) allows the handling of the uncertainty of each rain gauge independently, modelling space- and time-variant errors. The applications of KUD to rain gauge interpolation and radar-gauge rainfall merging are studied and compared. First, the methodology is studied with synthetic experiments, to evaluate its performance varying rain gauge density, accuracy and rainfall field characteristics. Subsequently, the method is applied to a case study in the Dommel catchment, the Netherlands, where high-quality automatic gauges are complemented by lower-quality tipping-bucket gauges and radar composites. The case study and the synthetic experiments show that considering measurement uncertainty in rain gauge interpolation usually improves rainfall estimations, given a sufficient rain gauge density. Considering measurement uncertainty in radar-gauge merging consistently improved the estimates in the tested cases, thanks to the additional spatial information of radar rainfall data but should still be used cautiously for convective events and low-density rain gauge networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number446
Number of pages17
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Kriging for uncertain data
  • Measurement uncertainty
  • Radar-gauge merging
  • Rain gauge errors
  • Rain gauge interpolation
  • Rain gauge uncertainty


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