Articles | Volume 19, issue 2
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 951–967, 2015

Special issue: The World Meteorological Organization Solid Precipitation...

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 951–967, 2015

Research article 20 Feb 2015

Research article | 20 Feb 2015

Derivation of a new continuous adjustment function for correcting wind-induced loss of solid precipitation: results of a Norwegian field study

M. A. Wolff1, K. Isaksen1, A. Petersen-Øverleir2, K. Ødemark1, T. Reitan3, and R. Brækkan1 M. A. Wolff et al.
  • 1Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway
  • 2Statkraft, Oslo, Norway
  • 3Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, Oslo, Norway

Abstract. Precipitation measurements exhibit large cold-season biases due to under-catch in windy conditions. These uncertainties affect water balance calculations, snowpack monitoring and calibration of remote sensing algorithms and land surface models. More accurate data would improve the ability to predict future changes in water resources and mountain hazards in snow-dominated regions.

In 2010, a comprehensive test site for precipitation measurements was established on a mountain plateau in southern Norway. Automatic precipitation gauge data are compared with data from a precipitation gauge in a Double Fence Intercomparison Reference (DFIR) wind shield construction which serves as the reference. A large number of other sensors are provided supporting data for relevant meteorological parameters.

In this paper, data from three winters are used to study and determine the wind-induced under-catch of solid precipitation. Qualitative analyses and Bayesian statistics are used to evaluate and objectively choose the model that best describes the data. A continuous adjustment function and its uncertainty are derived for measurements of all types of winter precipitation (from rain to dry snow). A regression analysis does not reveal any significant misspecifications for the adjustment function, but shows that the chosen model does not describe the regression noise optimally. The adjustment function is operationally usable because it is based only on data available at standard automatic weather stations.

The results show a non-linear relationship between under-catch and wind speed during winter precipitation events and there is a clear temperature dependency, mainly reflecting the precipitation type. The results allow, for the first time, derivation of an adjustment function based on measurements above 7 m s−1. This extended validity of the adjustment function shows a stabilization of the wind-induced precipitation loss for higher wind speeds.

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Short summary
The article reports on measurements, analysis and results of a Norwegian field study aimed to adjust automatic precipitation measurements for under-catch during windy conditions. An unique data set could be collected, documenting the under-catch of snow at very high wind speeds for the first time. A new continuous adjustment function for precipitation measured by an automated gauge covering all three precipitation types (snow, mixed and rain) was established.