Evaluation of Catch Efficiency Transfer Functions for Unshielded and Single-Alter-Shielded Solid Precipitation Measurements

Amandine Pierre Faculté de Foresterie, de Géographie et de Géomatique, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

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Sylvain Jutras Faculté de Foresterie, de Géographie et de Géomatique, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

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Craig Smith Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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John Kochendorfer Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division, NOAA/Air Resources Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

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Vincent Fortin Environmental Numerical Weather Prediction Research, Meteorological Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Dorval, Quebec, Canada

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François Anctil Faculté des Sciences et de Génie, Département de Génie Civil et de Génie des Eaux, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

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Abstract

Solid precipitation undercatch can reach 20%–70% depending on meteorological conditions, the precipitation gauge, and the wind shield used. Five catch efficiency transfer functions were selected from the literature to adjust undercatch from unshielded and single-Alter-shielded precipitation gauges for different accumulation periods. The parameters from these equations were calibrated using data from 11 sites with a WMO-approved reference measurement. This paper presents an evaluation of these transfer functions using data from the Neige site, which is located in the eastern Canadian boreal climate zone and was not used to derive any of the transfer functions available for evaluation. Solid precipitation measured at the Neige site was underestimated by 34% and 21% when compared with a manual reference precipitation measurement for unshielded and single-Alter-shielded gauges, respectively. Catch efficiency transfer functions were used to adjust these solid precipitation measurements, but all equations overestimated amounts of solid precipitation by 2%–26%. Five different statistics evaluated the accuracy of the adjustments and the variance of the results. Regardless of the adjustment applied, the catch efficiency for the unshielded gauge increased after the adjustment. However, this was not the case for the single-Alter-shielded gauges, for which the improvement of the results after applying the adjustments was not seen in all of the statistics tests. The results also showed that using calibrated parameters on datasets with similar site-specific characteristics, such as the mean wind speed during precipitation and the regional climate, could guide the choice of adjustment methods. These results highlight the complexity of solid precipitation adjustments.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Amandine Pierre, amandine.pierre.1@ulaval.ca

Abstract

Solid precipitation undercatch can reach 20%–70% depending on meteorological conditions, the precipitation gauge, and the wind shield used. Five catch efficiency transfer functions were selected from the literature to adjust undercatch from unshielded and single-Alter-shielded precipitation gauges for different accumulation periods. The parameters from these equations were calibrated using data from 11 sites with a WMO-approved reference measurement. This paper presents an evaluation of these transfer functions using data from the Neige site, which is located in the eastern Canadian boreal climate zone and was not used to derive any of the transfer functions available for evaluation. Solid precipitation measured at the Neige site was underestimated by 34% and 21% when compared with a manual reference precipitation measurement for unshielded and single-Alter-shielded gauges, respectively. Catch efficiency transfer functions were used to adjust these solid precipitation measurements, but all equations overestimated amounts of solid precipitation by 2%–26%. Five different statistics evaluated the accuracy of the adjustments and the variance of the results. Regardless of the adjustment applied, the catch efficiency for the unshielded gauge increased after the adjustment. However, this was not the case for the single-Alter-shielded gauges, for which the improvement of the results after applying the adjustments was not seen in all of the statistics tests. The results also showed that using calibrated parameters on datasets with similar site-specific characteristics, such as the mean wind speed during precipitation and the regional climate, could guide the choice of adjustment methods. These results highlight the complexity of solid precipitation adjustments.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Amandine Pierre, amandine.pierre.1@ulaval.ca
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