Precipitation data in a mountainous catchment in Honduras: quality assessment and spatiotemporal characteristics

I. Westerberg*, A. Walther, J-L. Guerrero, Z. Coello, S. Halldin, C-Y. Xu, D. Chen, L-C. Lundin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


An accurate description of temporal and spatial precipitation variability in Central America is important for local farming, water supply and flood management. Data quality problems and lack of consistent precipitation data impede hydrometeorological analysis in the 7,500 km(2) Choluteca River basin in central Honduras, encompassing the capital Tegucigalpa. We used precipitation data from 60 daily and 13 monthly stations in 1913-2006 from five local authorities and NOAA's Global Historical Climatology Network. Quality control routines were developed to tackle the specific data quality problems. The quality-controlled data were characterised spatially and temporally, and compared with regional and larger-scale studies. Two gap-filling methods for daily data and three interpolation methods for monthly and mean annual precipitation were compared. The coefficient-of-correlation-weighting method provided the best results for gap-filling and the universal kriging method for spatial interpolation. In-homogeneity in the time series was the main quality problem, and 22% of the daily precipitation data were too poor to be used. Spatial autocorrelation for monthly precipitation was low during the dry season, and correlation increased markedly when data were temporally aggregated from a daily time scale to 4-5 days. The analysis manifested the high spatial and temporal variability caused by the diverse precipitation-generating mechanisms and the need for an improved monitoring network.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-396
Number of pages16
JournalTheoretical and Applied Climatology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010




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