Articles | Volume 16, issue 12
Research article
17 Dec 2012
Research article |  | 17 Dec 2012

Elevation correction of ERA-Interim temperature data in complex terrain

L. Gao, M. Bernhardt, and K. Schulz

Abstract. Air temperature controls a large variety of environmental processes, and is an essential input parameter for land surface models, for example in hydrology, ecology and climatology. However, meteorological networks, which can provide the necessary information, are commonly sparse in complex terrains, especially in high mountainous regions. In order to provide temperature data in an adequate temporal and spatial resolution for local scale applications a new elevation correction method has been developed that is able to downscale 3-hourly ERA-Interim temperature data. The scheme is based on model internal vertical lapse rates derived from different ERA-Interim pressure levels and has been validated for twelve meteorological stations in the German and Swiss Alps. The method was also compared with two other statistical, lapse rate based correction approaches. The results indicate that the use of model internal ERA-Interim lapse rates can significantly improve the downscaling performance when compared to the standard procedure of using fixed lapse rates.