Simulation of Daily Weather Data Using Theoretical Probability Distributions

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  • a Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 13853
  • | b Department of Agronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 13853
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Abstract

A computer simulation model was constructed to supply daily weather data to a plant disease management model for potato late blight. In the weather model Monte Carlo techniques were employed to generate daily values of precipitation, maximum temperature, minimum temperature, minimum relative humidity and total solar radiation. Each weather variable is described by a known theoretical probability distribution but the values of the parameters describing each distribution are dependent on the occurrence of rainfall. Precipitation occurrence is described by a first-order Markov chain. The amount of rain, given that rain has occurred, is described by a gamma probability distribution. Maximum and minimum temperature are simulated with a trivariate normal probability distribution involving maximum temperature on the previous day, maximum temperature on the current day and minimum temperature on the current day. Parameter values for this distribution are dependent on the occurrence of rain on the previous day. Both minimum relative humidity and total solar radiation are assumed to be normally distributed. The values of the parameters describing the distribution of minimum relative humidity is dependent on rainfall occurrence on the previous day and current day. Parameter values for total solar radiation are dependent on the occurrence of rain on the current day. The assumptions made during model construction were found to be appropriate for actual weather data from Geneva, New York. The performance of the weather model was evaluated by comparing the cumulative frequency distributions of simulated weather data with the distributions of actual weather data from Geneva, New York and Fort Collins, Colorado. For each location, simulated weather data were similar to actual weather data in terms of mean response, variability and autocorrelation. The possible applications of this model when used with models of other components of the agro-ecosystem are discussed.

Abstract

A computer simulation model was constructed to supply daily weather data to a plant disease management model for potato late blight. In the weather model Monte Carlo techniques were employed to generate daily values of precipitation, maximum temperature, minimum temperature, minimum relative humidity and total solar radiation. Each weather variable is described by a known theoretical probability distribution but the values of the parameters describing each distribution are dependent on the occurrence of rainfall. Precipitation occurrence is described by a first-order Markov chain. The amount of rain, given that rain has occurred, is described by a gamma probability distribution. Maximum and minimum temperature are simulated with a trivariate normal probability distribution involving maximum temperature on the previous day, maximum temperature on the current day and minimum temperature on the current day. Parameter values for this distribution are dependent on the occurrence of rain on the previous day. Both minimum relative humidity and total solar radiation are assumed to be normally distributed. The values of the parameters describing the distribution of minimum relative humidity is dependent on rainfall occurrence on the previous day and current day. Parameter values for total solar radiation are dependent on the occurrence of rain on the current day. The assumptions made during model construction were found to be appropriate for actual weather data from Geneva, New York. The performance of the weather model was evaluated by comparing the cumulative frequency distributions of simulated weather data with the distributions of actual weather data from Geneva, New York and Fort Collins, Colorado. For each location, simulated weather data were similar to actual weather data in terms of mean response, variability and autocorrelation. The possible applications of this model when used with models of other components of the agro-ecosystem are discussed.

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