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Using monthly weather statistics to generate daily data in a SWAT model application to West Africa

Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), Überlandstrasse 133, P.O. Box 611, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
Ecological Modelling 01/2007; DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2006.09.028

ABSTRACT Most hydrologic models require daily weather data to run. While this information may be abundant in some parts of the world, in most parts such data is not available on daily basis. Distributed hydrologic models are particularly adversely affected by the lack of daily data or the existence of very inaccurate data as they impart large uncertainties to the model prediction. In this study we developed a daily weather generator algorithm (dGen) that uses the currently available 0.5° monthly weather statistics from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU). We tested dGen in two ways. First, we made a direct comparison of the measured and generated precipitation and maximum–minimum temperatures by looking at some long-term statistics in a few stations in West Africa. Second, we ran the model “Soil and Water Assessment Tool” (SWAT) with dGen-generated and measured daily weather data to simulate 25 years of annual and monthly river discharges at some gauging stations. The simulated river discharges were then compared with the measured ones. It was seen that using the dGen-simulated daily weather data resulted in a much better match with the measured discharge data than the measured daily weather data in combination with the SWAT internal weather generator WXGEN. WXGEN is used in SWAT to fill missing data using monthly statistics, which must be calculated from the existing daily data. For annual and monthly hydrological simulations, dGen-generated daily rainfall and temperature data appears to have a high degree of reliability.

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