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Tropical Andes Radar Precipitation Estimates Need High Temporal and Moderate Spatial Resolution

1
Subgerencia de Gestión Ambiental, Empresa Pública Municipal de Telecomunicaciones, Agua Potable, Alcantarillado y Saneamiento de Cuenca, Benigno Malo 7-78 y Mariscal Sucre, Cuenca 010104, Ecuador
2
Departamento de Recursos Hídricos y Ciencias Ambientales, Universidad de Cuenca, Av. 12 de Abril, Cuenca 010207, Ecuador
3
Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad de Cuenca, Av. 12 de Abril, Cuenca 010203, Ecuador
4
Laboratory for Climatology and Remote Sensing (LCRS), Faculty of Geography, University of Marburg, Marburg 35032,Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(5), 1038; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11051038
Received: 21 March 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 18 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
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Abstract

Weather radar networks are an excellent tool for quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE), due to their high resolution in space and time, particularly in remote mountain areas such as the Tropical Andes. Nevertheless, reduction of the temporal and spatial resolution might severely reduce the quality of QPE. Thus, the main objective of this study was to analyze the impact of spatial and temporal resolutions of radar data on the cumulative QPE. For this, data from the world’s highest X-band weather radar (4450 m a.s.l.), located in the Andes of Ecuador (Paute River basin), and from a rain gauge network were used. Different time resolutions (1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, and 60 min) and spatial resolutions (0.5, 0.25, and 0.1 km) were evaluated. An optical flow method was validated for 11 rainfall events (with different features) and applied to enhance the temporal resolution of radar data to 1-min intervals. The results show that 1-min temporal resolution images are able to capture rain event features in detail. The radar–rain gauge correlation decreases considerably when the time resolution increases (r from 0.69 to 0.31, time resolution from 1 to 60 min). No significant difference was found in the rain total volume (3%) calculated with the three spatial resolution data. A spatial resolution of 0.5 km on radar imagery is suitable to quantify rainfall in the Andes Mountains. This study improves knowledge on rainfall spatial distribution in the Ecuadorian Andes, and it will be the basis for future hydrometeorological studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: weather radar; QPE; radar temporal sampling error; rainfall advection; optical flow method; Ecuador Tropical Andes weather radar; QPE; radar temporal sampling error; rainfall advection; optical flow method; Ecuador Tropical Andes
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Guallpa, M.; Orellana-Alvear, J.; Bendix, J. Tropical Andes Radar Precipitation Estimates Need High Temporal and Moderate Spatial Resolution. Water 2019, 11, 1038.

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