Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Adjustment of precipitation measurements using Total Rain weighing Sensor (TRwS) gauges in the cryospheric hydrometeorology observation (CHOICE) system of the Qilian Mountains, Northwest China


Precipitation is one of the most important indicators of climate data, but there are many errors in precipitation measurements due to the influence of climatic conditions, especially those of solid precipitation in alpine mountains and at high latitude areas. The measured amount of precipitation in those areas is frequently less than the actual amount of precipitation. To understand the impact of climatic conditions on precipitation measurements in the mountainous areas of Northwest China and the applicability of different gauges in alpine mountains, we established a cryospheric hydrometeorology observation (CHOICE) system in 2008 in the Qilian Mountains, which consists of six automated observation stations located between 2960 and 4800 m a.s.l. Total Rain weighing Sensor (TRwS) gauges tested in the World Meteorological Organization-Solid Precipitation Intercomparison Experiment (WMO-SPICE) were used at observation stations with the CHOICE system. To study the influence of climatic conditions on different types of precipitation measured by the TRwS gauges, we conducted an intercomparison experiment of precipitation at Hulu-1 station that was one of the stations in the CHOICE system. Moreover, we tested the application of transfer functions recommended by the WMO-SPICE at this station using the measurement data from a TRwS gauge from August 2016 to December 2020 and computed new coefficients for the same transfer functions that were more appropriate for the dataset from Hulu-1 station. The new coefficients were used to correct the precipitation measurements of other stations in the CHOICE system. Results showed that the new parameters fitted to the local dataset had better correction results than the original parameters. The environmental conditions of Hulu-1 station were very different from those of observation stations that provided datasets to create the transfer functions. Thus, root-mean-square error (RMSE) of solid and mixed precipitation corrected by the original parameters increased significantly by the averages of 0.135 (353%) and 0.072 mm (111%), respectively. RMSE values of liquid, solid and mixed precipitation measurements corrected by the new parameters decreased by 6%, 20% and 13%, respectively. In addition, the new parameters were suitable for correcting precipitation at other five stations in the CHOICE system. The relative precipitation (RP) increment of different types of precipitation increased with rising altitude. The average RP increment value of snowfall at six stations was the highest, reaching 7%, while that of rainfall was the lowest, covering 3%. Our results confirmed that the new parameters could be used to correct precipitation measurements of the CHOICE system.


automatic weather stations; Total Rain weighing Sensors; precipitation correction; transfer function; Qilian Mountains

First Page


Last Page