American Meteorological Society
Central Chile is facing dramatic projections of climate change, with a consensus for declining precipitation, negatively affecting hydropower generation and irrigated agriculture. Rising from sea level to 6000 m within a distance of 200 km, precipitation characterization is difficult because of a lack of long-term observations, especially at higher elevations. For understanding current mean and extreme conditions and recent hydroclimatological change, as well as to provide a baseline for downscaling climate model projections, a temporally and spatially complete dataset of daily meteorology is essential. The authors use a gridded global daily meteorological dataset at 0.25° resolution for the period 1948–2008, adjusted by monthly precipitation observations interpolated to the same grid using a cokriging method with elevation as a covariate. For validation, daily statistics of the adjusted gridded precipitation are compared to station observations. For further validation, a hydrology model is driven with the gridded 0.25° meteorology and streamflow statistics are compared with observed flow. The high elevation precipitation is validated by comparing the simulated snow extent to Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images. Results show that the daily meteorology with the adjusted precipitation can accurately capture the statistical properties of extreme events as well as the sequence of wet and dry events, with hydrological model results displaying reasonable agreement with observed streamflow and snow extent. This demonstrates the successful use of a global gridded data product in a relatively data-sparse region to capture hydroclimatological characteristics and extremes.
Demaria, E.M.C., E.P. Maurer, J. Sheffield, E. Bustos, D. Poblete, S. Vicuña, and F. Meza, 2013, Using a gridded global data set to characterize regional hydroclimate in central Chile, Journal of Hydrometeorology14(1):251-265, doi: 10.1175/JHM-D-12-047.1