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A spatially comprehensive, hydrometeorological data set for Mexico, the U.S., and Southern Canada 1950–2013

Russell Vose, David W. Pierce, Bart Nijssen, Francisco Munoz-Arriola, Ben Livneh, Daniel R. Cayan, Levi Brekke, Theodore J. Bohn | August 18th, 2015

A data set of observed daily precipitation, maximum and minimum temperature, gridded to a 1/16° (~6 km) resolution, is described that spans the entire country of Mexico, the conterminous U.S. (CONUS), and regions of Canada south of 53° N for the period 1950–2013. The dataset improves previous products in spatial extent, orographic precipitation adjustment over Mexico and parts of Canada, and reduction of transboundary discontinuities. The impacts of adjusting gridded precipitation for orographic effects are quantified by scaling precipitation to an elevation-aware 1981–2010 precipitation climatology in Mexico and Canada. Differences are evaluated in terms of total precipitation as well as by hydrologic quantities simulated with a land surface model. Overall, orographic correction impacts total precipitation by up to 50% in mountainous regions outside CONUS. Hydrologic fluxes show sensitivities of similar magnitude, with discharge more sensitive than evapotranspiration and soil moisture. Because of the consistent gridding methodology, the current product reduces transboundary discontinuities as compared with a commonly used reanalysis product, making it suitable for estimating large-scale hydrometeorologic phenomena.


atmospheric rivers, climate change, flood management, modeling, water supply forecasting