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Article

Small Catchment Runoff Sensitivity to Station Density and Spatial Interpolation: Hydrological Modeling of Heavy Rainfall Using a Dense Rain Gauge Network

1
Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change (WEGC), University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
2
FWF-DK Climate Change, University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
3
Institute for Geophysics, Astrophysics, and Meteorology/Institute of Physics, University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
4
Department of Biogeochemical Integration, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, 07745 Jena, Germany
5
Bavarian Environment Agency, 86179 Augsburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Scott Curtis
Water 2021, 13(10), 1381; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101381
Received: 26 March 2021 / Revised: 30 April 2021 / Accepted: 11 May 2021 / Published: 15 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
Precipitation is the most important input to hydrological models, and its spatial variability can strongly influence modeled runoff. The highly dense station network WegenerNet (0.5 stations per km2) in southeastern Austria offers the opportunity to study the sensitivity of modeled runoff to precipitation input. We performed a large set of runoff simulations (WaSiM model) using 16 subnetworks with varying station densities and two interpolation schemes (inverse distance weighting, Thiessen polygons). Six representative heavy precipitation events were analyzed, placing a focus on small subcatchments (10–30 km2) and different event durations. We found that the modeling performance generally improved when the station density was increased up to a certain resolution: a mean nearest neighbor distance of around 6 km for long-duration events and about 2.5 km for short-duration events. However, this is not always true for small subcatchments. The sufficient station density is clearly dependent on the catchment area, event type, and station distribution. When the network is very dense (mean distance < 1.7 km), any reasonable interpolation choice is suitable. Overall, the station density is much more important than the interpolation scheme. Our findings highlight the need to study extreme precipitation characteristics in combination with runoff modeling to decompose precipitation uncertainties more comprehensively. View Full-Text
Keywords: precipitation variability; extreme events; rain gauge network; hydrological modeling; sensitivity analysis; spatial rainfall resolution; precipitation interpolation precipitation variability; extreme events; rain gauge network; hydrological modeling; sensitivity analysis; spatial rainfall resolution; precipitation interpolation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hohmann, C.; Kirchengast, G.; O, S.; Rieger, W.; Foelsche, U. Small Catchment Runoff Sensitivity to Station Density and Spatial Interpolation: Hydrological Modeling of Heavy Rainfall Using a Dense Rain Gauge Network. Water 2021, 13, 1381. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101381

AMA Style

Hohmann C, Kirchengast G, O S, Rieger W, Foelsche U. Small Catchment Runoff Sensitivity to Station Density and Spatial Interpolation: Hydrological Modeling of Heavy Rainfall Using a Dense Rain Gauge Network. Water. 2021; 13(10):1381. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101381

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hohmann, Clara, Gottfried Kirchengast, Sungmin O, Wolfgang Rieger, and Ulrich Foelsche. 2021. "Small Catchment Runoff Sensitivity to Station Density and Spatial Interpolation: Hydrological Modeling of Heavy Rainfall Using a Dense Rain Gauge Network" Water 13, no. 10: 1381. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101381

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