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Evaluation of Radar-Gauge Merging Techniques to Be Used in Operational Flood Forecasting in Urban Watersheds

1
School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada
2
Department of Civil Engineering, and School of Geography and Earth Science, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada
3
Cloud Physics and Severe Weather Research Section, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 14780 Jane St., King City, ON L7B 1A3, Canada
4
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond St., London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(5), 1494; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051494 (registering DOI)
Received: 14 April 2020 / Revised: 15 May 2020 / Accepted: 21 May 2020 / Published: 23 May 2020
Demand for radar Quantitative Precipitation Estimates (QPEs) as precipitation forcing to hydrological models in operational flood forecasting has increased in the recent past. It is practically impossible to get error-free QPEs due to the intrinsic limitations of weather radar as a precipitation measurement tool. Adjusting radar QPEs with gauge observations by combining their advantages while minimizing their weaknesses increases the accuracy and reliability of radar QPEs. This study deploys several techniques to merge two dual-polarized King City radar (WKR) C-band and two KBUF Next-Generation Radar (NEXRAD) S-band operational radar QPEs with rain gauge data for the Humber River (semi-urban) and Don River (urban) watersheds in Ontario, Canada. The relative performances are assessed against an independent gauge network by comparing hourly rainfall events. The Cumulative Distribution Function Matching (CDFM) method performed best, followed by Kriging with Radar-based Error correction (KRE). Although both WKR and NEXRAD radar QPEs improved significantly, NEXRAD Level III Digital Precipitation Array (DPA) provided the best results. All methods performed better for low- to medium-intensity precipitation but deteriorated with the increasing rainfall intensities. All methods outperformed radar only QPEs for all events, but the agreement is best in the summer. View Full-Text
Keywords: radar-gauge merging; QPE; WKR C-band radar; NEXRAD radar; hydrology; floods radar-gauge merging; QPE; WKR C-band radar; NEXRAD radar; hydrology; floods
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Wijayarathne, D.; Coulibaly, P.; Boodoo, S.; Sills, D. Evaluation of Radar-Gauge Merging Techniques to Be Used in Operational Flood Forecasting in Urban Watersheds. Water 2020, 12, 1494.

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