High-resolution precipitation data

Monitoring precipitation on small spatial scales, including the variation of extremes, is a prerequisite for the development of adaptation options in a future with changing precipitation characteristics.

As part of EURO4M MeteoSwiss collected precipitation data from operational high-resolution networks operated by the national services of Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Slovenia, Switzerland, and nine regional services in Italy. Issues of data quality are important, particularly because some of the datasets have not used flags for gaps in the measurements. To this end, the whole dataset undergoes automated data quality testing procedures e.g. to identify implausible measurements, based on the consistency with surrounding measurements. The quality checked dataset is used to produce a spatial analyses of precipitation in the Alpine region on a 5x5 km ETRS grid. An example field for a case of heavy precipitation is shown in the figure below.

Preliminary spatial analysis for an episode of a heavy precipitation in the Alps

Preliminary spatial analysis for an episode (three days) of a heavy precipitation in the Alps. (source MeteoSwiss)

Accumulated precipitation over the Baltic region, January 2009
Accumulated precipitation over the Baltic region during the month of January 2009 based on a mesoscale reanalysis at a resolution of 10 km. (Source: SMHI)

Precipitation over the Alps in August 2005
Precipitation over the Alps feeds four major European rivers and plays a crucial role in supplying water to the continent, in shaping Alpine ecosysems and in providing hydropower for civilization. Heavy precipitation can also cause flash floods, land slides and avalanches. This map shows observed precipitation in August 2005, when more than 150 mm of rain fell within 3 days over Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Six casualties and more than 2 billion Euros in damage occured within Switzerland alone. (Source: MeteoSwiss)