First Advisor

Hamid Moradkhani

Date of Publication

Spring 7-21-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Numerical weather forecasting, Precipitation forecasting -- Mathematical models, Hydrologic models, Streamflow -- Forecasting



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 82 pages)


Reliability and accuracy of the forcing data plays a vital role in the Hydrological Streamflow Prediction. Reliability of the forcing data leads to accurate predictions and ultimately reduction of uncertainty. Currently, Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models are developing ensemble forecasts for various temporal and spatial scales. However, it is proven that the raw products of the NWP models may be biased at the basin scale; unlike model grid scale, depending on the size of the catchment. Due to the large space-time variability of precipitation, bias-correcting the ensemble forecasts has proven to be a challenging task. In recent years, Ensemble Pre-Processing (EPP), a statistical approach, has proven to be helpful in reduction of bias and generation of reliable forecast. The procedure is based on the bivariate probability distribution between observation and single-value precipitation forecasts. In the current work, we have applied and evaluated a Bayesian approach, based on the Copula density functions, to develop an ensemble precipitation forecasts from the conditional distribution of the single-value precipitation. Copula functions are the multivariate joint distribution of univariate marginal distributions and are capable of modeling the joint distribution of two variables with any level of correlation and dependency. The advantage of using Copulas, amongst others, includes its capability of modeling the joint distribution independent of the type of marginal distribution. In the present study, we have evaluated the capability of copula-based functions in EPP and comparison is made against an existing and commonly used procedure for same i.e. meta-Gaussian distribution. Monthly precipitation forecast from Climate Forecast System (CFS) and gridded observation from Parameter-elevation Relationships on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM) have been utilized to create ensemble pre-processed precipitation over three sub-basins in the western USA at 0.5-degree spatial resolution. The comparison has been made using both deterministic and probabilistic frameworks of evaluation. Across all the sub-basins and evaluation techniques, copula-based technique shows more reliability and robustness as compared to the meta-Gaussian approach.


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