Pattern-oriented memory interpolation of sparse historical rainfall records
The pattern-oriented memory (POM) is a novel historical rainfall interpolation method that explicitly takes into account the time dimension in order to interpolate areal rainfall maps. The method is based on the idea that rainfall patterns exist and can be identified over a certain area by means of non-linear regressions. Having been previously benchmarked with a vast array of interpolation methods using proxy satellite data under different time and space availabilities, in the scope of the present contribution POM is applied to rain gauge data in order to produce areal rainfall maps. Tested over the Zambezi River Basin for the period from 1979 to 1997 (accurate satellite rainfall estimates based on spaceborne instruments are not available for dates prior to 1998), the novel pattern-oriented memory historical interpolation method has revealed itself as a better alternative than Kriging or Inverse Distance Weighing in the light of a Monte Carlo cross-validation procedure. Superior in most metrics to the other tested interpolation methods, in terms of the Pearson correlation coefficient and bias the accuracy of POM's historical interpolation results are even comparable with that of recent satellite rainfall products. The new method holds the possibility of calculating detailed and performing daily areal rainfall estimates, even in the case of sparse rain gauging grids. Besides their performance, the similarity to satellite rainfall estimates inherent to POM interpolations can contribute to substantially extend the length of the rainfall series used in hydrological models and water availability studies in remote areas. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.