Weather Monitoring

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Revision as of 12:29, 27 October 2010 by Raymond (talk | contribs) (Interpolation of observed weather)
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General description

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General layout of the weather monitoring components in MCYFS

The weather monitoring module is one of the five modules of the MCYFS and can be split in 5 procedures. The first two handle (1): acquisition of observed weather and (2): acquisition of forecasted weather. After acquisition the data are converted to regular distrubuted values in procedure (3): interpolation of observed weather and (4): interpolation of forecasted weather resulting in so called 'grid weather'. Finally the grid weather from observations and forecasts is (5): aggregated to regions.


The output of the weather monitoring module is used in two ways. In the first place as input for the crop simulation module to simulate crops behaviors and evaluate the effects of weather on crops yields. Secondly as weather indicators for a direct evaluation of alarming situations such as drought, extreme rainfall during sowing, flowering or harvest etc. For this purpose the weather data are also input for calculating climatology.

Acquisition of observed weather

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Acquisition of observed weather

Every day the raw data of at least 3000 stations that regularly collect one or more parameters and supply them in near real time are acquired and added to the raw station weather database. For the year 2010 over 3400 stations have contributed the database. Over time another 2800 stations have a usefull archive. Weather parameters that are collected include:

  • Precipitation (daily and 6-hourly)
  • Temperature (daily maximum, daily minimum and 3-hourly)
  • Measured radiation
  • Sunshine
  • Cloud cover
  • Vapour pressure
  • Wind speed
  • Snow depth
  • Humidity (3-hourly)


The archive data and near real time incoming parameters values are checked for errors such as temperatures that are too low or parameters values that don't change over time. Errors are corrected and the data are processed to daily parameters that fit in a uniform station weather database.

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Because some parameters that are needed in the crop simulation module are not sufficiently measured by weather stations some advanced parameters are calculated from basis parameters:

  • Calculated radiation at surface
  • Transpiration of water surface
  • Transpiration of wet bare soil
  • Evapotranspiration

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Acquisition of forecasted weather

5 weather forecast products from ECMWF are loaded into the system:

  • Analysis model
  • Deterministic forecast
  • Ensemble Prediction System
  • Monthly forecast
  • Seasonal forecast

The products have a different number of forecast days and a varying number of possible results called 'members'. Different members can thought of as model runs with a slightly different initialization and thus slightly different forecast results.

Model Abbreviation Forecast days Members Spatial resolution Delivery
Analysis model HIS 1 1 0.25° x 0.25° Daily (10.30 hr)
Deterministic forecast OPE 10 1 0.25° x 0.25° Daily (12.00 hr)
Ensemble Prediction System EPS 15 51 0.5° x 0.5° Daily (14.00 hr)
Monthly forecast MON 32 50 0.5° x 0.5° Every Friday (03.00 hr)
Seasonal forecast SEA 170 40 0.25° x 0.25° Every 15th of the month (14.00 hr)

The acquired weather parameters are:

  • Precipitation
  • Temperature (daily maximum, minimum and average)
  • Dewpoint temperature
  • Global radiation
  • Snow depth
  • Wind speed

Some advanced parameters are calculated from basis parameters:

  • Vapour pressure
  • Transpiration of water surface
  • Transpiration of wet bare soil
  • Evapotranspiration


Only the HIS data are stored as archive and used for calculating climatolgy. The data of other models is replaced when a more recent data set becomes available (OPE, EPS, MON, SEA).

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Interpolation of observed weather

Observed weather is aquired from weather stations that have an iragular distribution over Europe. Weather station data of a single station is only representative for the location of that station. To construct weather data for locations inbetween stations a conversion is needed. {{{3}}}is one of the methods to do this. This procedure converts iregular distrubuted station data to regular distributed data. The regular distribution is organized in a regular grid with side by side grid cells of 25 kilometer wide and 25 kilometer long that cover the European continent.


The interpolation is managed by a sub-system called CGMS.

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More information


File:Interpolation of observed weather.jpg
Interpolation of observed weather

Current year
In the current year (near real time) for every day and each grid cell up to the 4 most suitable stations are selected. This is based on comparison of the station locations and altitudes and the grid cell location and altitude. The suitable stations are used to interpolate the weather data to that specific grid cell for that specific day. The suitable stations can differ between days and even between indicators. In case no suitable stations are found, a long term average value is substituted to ensure spatial and temporal continuity.


Previous years (the archive)
For interpolation of archive station weather each grid cell uses the same suitable stations for a complete year. For most recent years around 2700 stations have a sufficient temporal coverage (enough observations within one year). Only these are used in the interpolation procedure. In this way a grid weather archive is build up with daily weather for each grid cell going back to 1975.


With the grid weather database available, other weather indicators can be derived:

  • average day temperature
  • climatic water balance
  • long term averages (climatolgy)


Some of the weather indicators are defined over an arbitrary period:

  • sum, max, min and average of a parameter
  • number of heat waves
  • longest heat wave period
  • number of hot day's
  • number of cold day's
  • number of day's with significant rainfall

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Interpolation of forecasted weather

Example of 0.25 x 0.25 degrees source grid (black dots) and 25 x 25 km target grid (gray lines)

The data of different forecast models ('source') are acquired in different spatial resolutions (sea 'Acquisition of observed weather'). The downscalling procedure converts these data into a 25x25 km ('target') resolution which can be used in the crop simulation module.


In the first part of the downscalling method parameter values for a target gridcell are derived from the 4 closest source gridcells where closer source gridcells have a higher weight (inverse distance weighting).


In the second part of the downscalling a correction is made for systematic bias (systematic deviations between estimated downscalled source data and observed target data). For instance: temperature is correlated with height. The heigt values in the source grid are different from the height values in the target grid (they sample different locations). Therefor downscalled temperature will be biased depending upon the height differences.

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Aggregation to regions

Example of 4 different administrative levels in combination with landcover type 'arable land' on 25 x 25 km grid.

The primary results of the interpolating observed stations weather and downscalled forecast weather is grid weather. To answer questions like:


'What was the average temperature in France during the last week for locations where winter wheat is grown?'


the grid weather data are aggregated to different levels of administrative regions and different levels of agri-environmental regions while weighting each gridcells for the area covered by a certain crop or landcover type. Observed grid weather and forecasted grid weather are both aggregated to (90 combinations each):

  • 4 levels of administrative regions for 12 crops and 7 landcover types
  • 2 levels of agri-environmental regions for 7 landcover types.

The aggregation of forecasted grid weather is restricted to the HIS model, OPE model and the median of all EPS member values per forecast day.


All combinations are aggregated a second time with the difference that only gridcells are taken into account that have at least 5 % coverage of a certain crop or landcover type. For example:

  • administrative region: 'country' level
  • landcover type: 'arable land'
  • threshold: 5%

In this combination all grid cells that have at least 5% coverage of landcover type 'arable land' contribute to the aggregated values for 'countries' they are contained by. The contribution of each grid cell that passes the threshold of 5% is weighted by the area covered with landcover type 'arable land'. Grid cells with less than 5% coverage are not taken into account.

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Climatology (long term average weather)

Climatology is essential to understand how current weather conditions relate to the normal situation. Long term average values are available for observed weather and forecasted weather (HIS model only) for different resolutions (25 x 25 km grid, administrative regions and agri-environmental regions).

The following parameters are available:

  • Precipitation
  • Temperature (daily maximum, minimum and average)
  • Dewpoint temperature (forecasted weather only)
  • Vapour pressure
  • Wind speed
  • Snow depth
  • Calculated radiation at surface (observed), global radiation (forecasted)
  • Transpiration of water surface
  • Transpiration of wet bare soiles
  • Evapotranspiration
  • fraction of days wit daily maximum temperature greater than 25 degrees celsius
  • fraction of days wit daily maximum temperature greater than 30 degrees celsius
  • fraction of days wit daily maximum temperature greater than 35 degrees celsius
  • fraction of days wit daily maximum temperature less than 0 degrees celsius
  • fraction of days wit daily maximum temperature less than minus 8 degrees celsius
  • fraction of days wit daily maximum temperature less than minus 10 degrees celsius
  • fraction of days wit daily maximum temperature less than minus 18 degrees celsius
  • fraction of days wit daily maximum temperature less than minus 20 degrees celsius
  • fraction of days wit rainfall greater than 5 mm
  • fraction of days wit rainfall greater than 10 mm
  • fraction of days wit rainfall greater than 15 mm
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