Backcasting Long Term Climate Data: Evaluation of Hypothesis

AuthorsSaghafian, B - Ghasemi Aghbalaghi, S - Nasseri, M
JournalTheoretical and Applied Climatology
Presented byTechnical and Engineering Department, Science and Research Branch Islamic Azad University
Page number717-726
Volume number132
Paper TypeFull Paper
Published At2018
Journal GradeScientific - research
Journal TypeTypographic
Journal CountryAustria


Most often than not, incomplete datasets or short-term recorded data in vast regions impedes reliable climate and water studies. Various methods, such as simple correlation with stations having long-term time series, are practiced to infill or extend the period of observation at stations with missing or short-term data. In the current paper and for the first time, the hypothesis on the feasibility of extending the downscaling concept to backcast local observation records using large-scale atmospheric predictors is examined. Backcasting is coined here to contrast forecasting/projection; the former is implied to reconstruct in the past, while the latter represents projection in the future. To assess our hypotheses, daily and monthly statistical downscaling models were employed to reconstruct past precipitation data and lengthen the data period. Urmia and Tabriz synoptic stations, located in northwestern Iran, constituted two case study stations. SDSM and data-mining downscaling model (DMDM) daily as well as the group method of data handling (GMDH) and model tree (Mp5) monthly downscaling models were trained with National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) data. After training, reconstructed precipitation data of the past was validated against observed data. Then, the data was fully extended to the 1948 to 2009 period corresponding to available NCEP data period. The results showed that DMDM performed superior in generation of monthly average precipitation compared with the SDSM, Mp5, and GMDH models, although none of the models could preserve the monthly variance. This overall confirms practical value of the proposed approach in extension of the past historic data, particularly for long-term climatological and water budget studies.

Paper URL

Full Paper