Arctic Land-Surface Precipitation:
Gridded Monthly and Annual Climatologies

(Version 1.01)

interpolated and documented by

Cort J. Willmott and Michael A. Rawlins
(with support from NSF Project 9524740 and
NASA's Seasonal to Interannual ESIP)

For additional information concerning this archive,
please contact us at:

Center for Climatic Research
Department of Geography
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716
(302) 831-2294

or

rawlins@udel.edu


Archive (Version 1.01) created August 20, 1999

STATION DATA SOURCE:

Climatic means of monthly- and annual-total precipitation, calculated for 6054 independent land-surface weather stations located north of 43 N (Willmott and Rawlins, 1999), were used to produce this gridded archive. Some 2335 station records were drawn from version 2 of the Global Historical Climatology Network (Peterson and Vose, 1998), while 3697 station records were obtained from the Atmospheric Environment Service/Environment Canada. Twenty-two more Russian station records were acquired through collaboration with the State Hydrometeorological Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia. Work on Willmott and Rawlins's (1999) station climatology is ongoing, and it is unavailable for distribution.

SPATIAL INTERPOLATION:

Traditional interpolation was accomplished with the spherical version of Shepard's algorithm, which employs an enhanced distance-weighting method (Shepard, 1968; Willmott et al., 1985). Station precipitation values were interpolated to a 0.5 degree by 0.5 degree of latitude/longitude grid, where the grid nodes are centered on 0.25 degree. The number of nearby stations that influence a grid-node estimate was increased to an average of 20, from an average of 7 in earlier applications. This resulted in smaller cross-validation errors (see below) and visually more realistic precipitation fields. A more robust neighbor finding algorithm, based on spherical distance, also was used.

SPATIAL CROSS VALIDATION:

To indicate (roughly) the spatial interpolation errors, station-by-station cross validation was employed (Willmott and Matsuura, 1995). One station was removed at a time, and precipitation was then interpolated to the removed station location from the surrounding nearby stations. The difference between the real station value and the interpolated value is a local estimate of interpolation error. After each station cross validation was made, the removed station was put back into the network. To reduce network biases on cross-validation results, absolute values of the errors at the stations were interpolated to the same spatial resolution as the gridded precipitation field.

ARCHIVE STRUCTURE:

precip.clim:
Monthly and annual precipitation totals interpolated to a 0.5 by 0.5 degree grid resolution. The format of each record is:
Field Columns Variable Fortran Format
1 1 - 8 Longitude (decimal degrees)
F8.3
2 9 - 16 Latitude (decimal degrees)
F8.3
3-14 17 - 100 Monthly Precipitation (mm, Jan - Dec)
12F7.1
15 101 - 107 Annual Precipitation (mm)
F7.1
pprecip.cve.clim:
Cross-validation errors associated with monthly and annual precipitation interpolated to a 0.5 by 0.5 degree grid resolution. The format of each record is:
Field Columns Variable Fortran Format
1 1 - 8 Longitude (decimal degrees)
F8.3
2 9 - 16 Latitude (decimal degrees)
F8.3
3-14 17 - 100 Cross-validation errors for Monthly Precipitation (mm, Jan - Dec)
12F7.1
15 101 - 107 Cross-validation errors for Annual Precipitation (mm)
F7.1

SELECTED REFERENCES:

Shepard, D. (1968). A two-dimensional Interpolation function for irregularly-spaced Data. Proceedings, 1968 ACM National Conference, 517-523.

Willmott, C. J., C. M. Rowe and W. D. Philpot (1985). Small-Scale Climate Maps: A Sensitivity Analysis of Some Common Assumptions Associated with Grid-point Interpolation and Contouring. . American Cartographer, 12, 5-16.

Willmott, C. J. and M. A. Rawlins (1999). Arctic Monthly Precipitation: Land-Surface Station Climatology Archive (version. 1.01). Newark, Delaware: . Center for Climatic Research, Department of Geography, University of Delaware (in preparation).