To enable operational flood forecasting and drought monitoring, reliable and consistent methods for precipitation interpolation are needed. Such methods need to deal with the deficiencies of sparse operational real-time data compared to quality-controlled offline data sources used in historical analyses. In particular, often only a fraction of the measurement network reports in near real-time. For this purpose, we present an interpolation method, generalized REGNIE (genRE), which makes use of climatological monthly background grids derived from existing gridded precipitation climatology data sets. We show how genRE can be used to mimic and extend climatological precipitation data sets in near real-time using (sparse) real-time measurement networks in the Rhine basin upstream of the Netherlands (approximately 160,000 km2). In the process, we create a 1.2 × 1.2 km transnational gridded hourly precipitation data set for the Rhine basin. Precipitation gauge data are collected, spatially interpolated for the period 1996–2015 with genRE and inverse-distance squared weighting (IDW), and then evaluated on the yearly and daily time scale against the HYRAS and EOBS climatological data sets. Hourly fields are compared qualitatively with RADOLAN radar-based precipitation estimates. Two sources of uncertainty are evaluated: station density and the impact of different background grids (HYRAS versus EOBS). The results show that the genRE method successfully mimics climatological precipitation data sets (HYRAS/EOBS) over daily, monthly, and yearly time frames. We conclude that genRE is a good interpolation method of choice for real-time operational use. genRE has the largest added value over IDW for cases with a low real-time station density and a high-resolution background grid.
- generalized REGNIE
- gridded precipitation data sets
- hydrological forecasting
- real time
- Rhine basin