Construction of a 10-min-gridded precipitation data set for the Greater Alpine Region for 1800–2003

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Construction of a 10-min-gridded precipitation data set for the Greater Alpine Region for 1800–2003

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  Construction of a 10-min-gridded precipitation data set for theGreater Alpine Region for 1800–2003 Dimitrios Efthymiadis, 1 Philip D. Jones, 1 Keith R. Briffa, 1 Ingeborg Auer, 2 Reinhard Bo¨hm, 2 Wolfgang Scho¨ner, 2 Christoph Frei, 3 and Ju¨rg Schmidli 4 Received 22 April 2005; revised 4 August 2005; accepted 20 October 2005; published 13 January 2006. [ 1 ]  A new precipitation data set for the Greater Alpine Region (GAR; 4  E–19  E,43   N–49   N) has been developed. It provides monthly precipitation totals, for the1800–2003 period, gridded at 10-min resolution. The new HISTALP 10-min-grid dataset is based on 192 long-term homogenized precipitation series from meteorologicalstations across the study domain and a high-resolution precipitation climatology for the1971–1990 period. The effective coverage of the data set depends on the observationsavailable in the station network which progressively declines back to the early 19thcentury (from 192 to 5 stations). To aid the use of these data in other studies, anaccompanying data set has also been developed, which provides a measure of thequality of each monthly precipitation estimate over the grid: the explained variance,relative to the 1931–2000 (maximum data availability) period. The computed qualityscore illustrates the comparatively poorer accuracy of the data set for regions andmonths with less coherent precipitation fields (i.e., over the Alps and in summer) andwhen the number of stations is reduced, particularly before 1840. The derived griddedfield has also been compared for the whole and geographical subregions with other independently developed data sets and is found to provide a similar description of the precipitation in the GAR for places and periods of common coverage. The data set is publicly available at http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/. Citation:  Efthymiadis, D., P. D. Jones, K. R. Briffa, I. Auer, R. Bo¨hm, W. Scho¨ner, C. Frei, and J. Schmidli (2006), Construction of a10-min-gridded precipitation data set for the Greater Alpine Region for 1800–2003,  J. Geophys. Res. ,  111 , D01105,doi:10.1029/2005JD006120. 1. Introduction [ 2 ] The precipitation field of the European Alps is perhaps both the best observed and most studied among the topo-graphically and climatically complex regions of the Earth. Acomprehensive listing of the many studies can be found in  Frei and Scha¨r   [1998]. These studies have benefited from anetwork of meteorological stations, which operated in thearea with its maximum density during the second half of the20th century. This network enabled the construction of gridded climatologies and multidecadal data sets with gridresolution of    100 m to   100 km, at a daily to annualtemporal resolution (see Table 1). The construction of thesedata sets was carried out either for individual nationalterritories, or trans-national domains, and in some caseswere part of global-scale studies. None of the gridded datasets constructed to date, however, extends before 1901constraining the length and timescale of climatic variationsthat can be considered.[ 3 ] A multicentury description of precipitation is neces-sary to achieve an extended understanding of the climatevariability in the Greater Alpine Region (GAR, 4–19  E,43–49   N; see Figure 1) with particular emphasis on itslong-term components. This need has recently led to thedevelopment of meteorological records from various inter-national, national and subnational instrumental data collec-tions and the construction of a new data set with long-term,homogenized time series of monthly precipitation totals for 192 sites in the GAR [  Auer et al. , 2005]. A few of the timeseries extend back to 1800, whereas most of them start within the 19th century. Complete data coverage is providedfrom 1927 to 2003. This data set is part of a general climaticdatabase in development, named ‘‘HISTALP’’, which com- prises instrumental monthly climate time series for therealm of the European Alps. Its development began in theearly 1990s with single long-term variable data sets for Austria (e.g.,  Bo¨hm  [1992] for temperature;  Auer   [1993] for  precipitation). Later,  Auer et al.  [2001a] developed a mul-tiple Austrian data set for 9 climate variables. Since then,intensification of the collaboration of all climate data providers for the region has allowed an extension to the JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 111, D01105, doi:10.1029/2005JD006120, 2006 1 Climatic Research Unit, School of Environmental Sciences, Universityof East Anglia, Norwich, UK. 2 Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, Vienna, Austria. 3 MeteoSwiss, Zurich, Switzerland. 4 Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH, Zurich,Switzerland.Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.0148-0227/06/2005JD006120$09.00 D01105  1 of 22
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