Articles | Volume 21, issue 3
31 Mar 2003
 | 31 Mar 2003

On ALADIN precipitation modeling and validation in an Alpine watershed

B. Ahrens, K. Jasper, and J. Gurtz

Abstract. Highly resolved precipitation forecasts are necessary in many applications, especially in mountain meteorology and flash flood forecasts for small- to medium-sized alpine watersheds. Here we present precipitation forecasts simulated by the limited area model ALADIN applying different grid resolutions (Dx = 10 km and 4 km). Target area of the investigations is the Alpine Ticino-Verzasca-Maggia watershed (total area: 2627 km2). We discuss problems of validation of high-resolution precipitation forecasts by comparison with observed precipitation fields and apply an indirect validation approach by using ALADIN forecasts as input to hydrologic simulations. These simulations are carried out with the distributed hydrologic model WaSiM-ETH (Dx = 500 m, Dt = 1 h). The time step of meteorological input to WaSiM-ETH is fixed at 1 h but spatial resolution varies. The main result of the validation experiments for three heavy precipitation events is, that coarser-scale ALADIN forecasts (in model version 11.2) provide better precipitation predictors for hydrologic modeling than higher-resolution forecasts. The experiments demonstrate that hydrologic modeling is a promising tool for the evaluation of high-resolution precipitation fields.

Key words. Hydrology (floods) – Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (mesoscale meteorology; precipitation)