Evaluation of a conceptual rainfall forecasting model from observed and simulated rain events
Abstract. Very short-term rainfall forecasting models designed for runoff analysis of catchments, particularly those subject to flash-floods, typically include one or more variables deduced from weather radars. Useful variables for defining the state and evolution of a rain system include rainfall rate, vertically integrated rainwater content and advection velocity. The forecast model proposed in this work complements recent dynamical formulations by focusing on a formulation incorporating these variables using volumetric radar data to define the model state variables, determining the rainfall source term directly from multi-scan radar data, explicitly accounting for orographic enhancement, and explicitly incorporating the dynamical model components in an advection-diffusion scheme. An evaluation of this model is presented for four rain events collected in the South of France and in the North-East of Italy. Model forecasts are compared with two simple methods: persistence and extrapolation. An additional analysis is performed using an existing mono-dimensional microphysical meteorological model to produce simulated rain events and provide initialization data. Forecasted rainfall produced by the proposed model and the extrapolation method are compared to the simulated events. The results show that the forecast model performance is influenced by rainfall temporal variability and performance is better for less variable rain events. The comparison with the extrapolation method shows that the proposed model performs better than extrapolation in the initial period of the forecast lead-time. It is shown that the performance of the proposed model over the extrapolation method depends essentially on the additional vertical information available from voluminal radar.