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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/hessd-10-8683-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hessd-10-8683-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  03 Jul 2013

03 Jul 2013

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This preprint has been withdrawn by the authors.

ESOLIP – estimate of solid and liquid precipitation at sub-daily time resolution by combining snow height and rain gauge measurements

E. Mair1, G. Bertoldi1, G. Leitinger2, S. Della Chiesa1,2, G. Niedrist1,2, and U. Tappeiner1,2 E. Mair et al.
  • 1Institute for Alpine Environment, European Academy of Bozen – EURAC, Drususallee 1, 39100 Bozen, Italy
  • 2Institute of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Sternwartestraße 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Abstract. Measuring precipitation in mountain areas is a demanding task, but essential for hydrological and environmental themes. Especially in small Alpine catchments with short hydrological response, precipitation data with high temporal resolution are required for a better understanding of the hydrological cycle. Since most climate/meteorological stations are situated at the easily accessible bottom of valleys, and the few heated rain gauges installed at higher elevation sites are problematic in winter conditions, an accurate quantification of winter (snow) precipitation at high elevations remains difficult. However, there are an increasing number of micro-meteorological stations and snow height sensors at high elevation locations in Alpine catchments. To benefit from data of such stations, an improved approach to estimate solid and liquid precipitation (ESOLIP) is proposed. ESOLIP allows gathering hourly precipitation data throughout the year by using unheated rain gauge data, careful filtering of snow height sensors as well as standard meteorological data (air temperature, relative humidity, global shortwave radiation, wind speed). ESOLIP was validated at a well-equipped test site in Stubai Valley (Tyrol, Austria), comparing results to winter precipitation measured with a snow pillow and a heated rain gauge. The snow height filtering routine and indicators for possible precipitation were tested at a field site in Matsch Valley (South Tyrol, Italy). Results show a good match with measured data because variable snow density is taken into account, which is important when working with freshly fallen snow. Furthermore, the results show the need for accurate filtering of the noise of the snow height signal and they confirm the unreliability of heated rain gauges for estimating winter precipitation. The described improved precipitation estimate ESOLIP at sub-daily time resolution is helpful for precipitation analysis and for several hydrological applications like monitoring systems and rainfall-runoff models.

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E. Mair et al.

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E. Mair et al.

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