IWA Publishing

Assessment of rain-gauge networks using a probabilistic GIS based approach


Rain-gauge networks provide estimates of areal rainfall as a crucial input for hydrological applications. Hence, it is important to quantify the performance of a rain-gauge network and evaluate the contribution of each rain-gauge to the overall accuracy of areal rainfall estimation at basin scale. This paper evaluates the performance and augmentation of a rain-gauge network in a large basin in Iran. A probabilistic approach combined with a geographic information system (GIS) framework is applied, in order to assess the accuracy of point rainfall in terms of acceptance probability. A simple equation for calculating the acceptance probability is presented which facilitates the application of the probabilistic approach in a GIS environment. This approach analyzes the number and location of rain-gauges and quantifies each gauge's contribution to the accuracy of rainfall estimation over the study area. Results show that among 33 existing gauges, only 21 have significant effect on areal rainfall estimation while other 12 gauges have marginal contribution to the accuracy of the network. Also, by applying an augmentation algorithm, an optimal rain-gauge network with 28 gauges is formed.

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