Accounting for secondary exhaustive variables (such as elevation) in modelling the spatial distribution of precipitation can improve their estimate accuracy. However, elevation and precipitation data are associated with different support sizes and it is necessary to define methods to combine such different spatial data. The paper was aimed to compare block ordinary cokriging and block kriging with an external drift in estimating the annual precipitation using elevation as covariate. Block ordinary kriging was used as reference of a univariate geostatistical approach. In addition, the different support sizes associated with precipitation and elevation data were also taken into account. The study area was the Calabria region (southern Italy), which has a spatially variable Mediterranean climate because of its high orographic variability. Block kriging with elevation as external drift, compared to block ordinary kriging and block ordinary cokriging, was the most accurate approach for modelling the spatial distribution of annual mean precipitation. The three measures of accuracy (MAE, mean absolute error; RMSEP, root-mean-squared error of prediction; MRE, mean relative error) have the lowest values (MAE = 112.80 mm; RMSEP = 144.89 mm, and MRE = 0.11), whereas the goodness of prediction (G) has the highest value (75.67). The results clearly indicated that the use of an exhaustive secondary variable always improves the precipitation estimate, but in the case of areas with elevations below 120 m, block cokriging makes better use of secondary information in precipitation estimation than block kriging with external drift. At higher elevations, the opposite is always true: block kriging with external drift performs better than block cokriging. This approach takes into account the support size associated with precipitation and elevation data. Accounting for elevation allowed to obtain more detailed maps than using block ordinary kriging. However, block kriging with external drift produced a map with more local details than that of block ordinary cokriging because of the local re-evaluation of the linear regression of precipitation on block estimates.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited