Improving the Canadian Precipitation Analysis Estimates through an Observing System Simulation Experiment

Friday, 19 December 2014
Kian Abbasnezhadi, Peter F Rasmussen and Tricia Stadnyk, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
To gain a better understanding of the spatiotemporal distribution of rainfall over the Churchill River basin, this study was undertaken. The research incorporates gridded precipitation data from the Canadian Precipitation Analysis (CaPA) system. CaPA has been developed by Environment Canada and provides near real-time precipitation estimates on a 10 km by 10 km grid over North America at a temporal resolution of 6 hours. The spatial fields are generated by combining forecasts from the Global Environmental Multiscale (GEM) model with precipitation observations from the network of synoptic weather stations. CaPA’s skill is highly influenced by the number of weather stations in the region of interest as well as by the quality of the observations. In an attempt to evaluate the performance of CaPA as a function of the density of the weather station network, a dual-stage design algorithm to simulate CaPA is proposed which incorporates generated weather fields. More specifically, we are adopting a controlled design algorithm which is generally known as Observing System Simulation Experiment (OSSE). The advantage of using the experiment is that one can define reference precipitation fields assumed to represent the true state of rainfall over the region of interest. In the first stage of the defined OSSE, a coupled stochastic model of precipitation and temperature gridded fields is calibrated and validated. The performance of the generator is then validated by comparing model statistics with observed statistics and by using the generated samples as input to the WATFLOOD™ hydrologic model. In the second stage of the experiment, in order to account for the systematic error of station observations and GEM fields, representative errors are to be added to the reference field using by-products of CaPA's variographic analysis. These by-products explain the variance of station observations and background errors.