Two methods are investigated for interpolating daily minimum and maximum air temperatures (Tmin and Tmax) at a 1 km spatial resolution over a large mountainous region (830 000 km2) in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The methods were selected because of their ability to (1) account for the effect of elevation on temperature and (2) efficiently handle large volumes of data. The first method, the neutral stability algorithm (NSA), used the hydrostatic and potential temperature equations to convert measured temperatures and elevations to sea-level potential temperatures. The potential temperatures were spatially interpolated using an inverse-squared-distance algorithm and then mapped to the elevation surface of a digital elevation model (DEM). The second method, linear lapse rate adjustment (LLRA), involved the same basic procedure as the NSA, but used a constant linear lapse rate instead of the potential temperature equation. Cross-validation analyses were performed using the NSA and LLRA methods to interpolate Tmin and Tmax each day for the 1990 water year, and the methods were evaluated based on mean annual interpolation error (IE). The NSA method showed considerable bias for sites associated with vertical extrapolation. A correction based on climate station/grid cell elevation differences was developed and found to successfully remove the bias. The LLRA method was tested using 3 lapse rates, none of which produced a serious extrapolation bias. The bias-adjusted NSA and the 3 LLRA methods produced almost identical levels of accuracy (mean absolute errors between 1.2 and 1.3??C), and produced very similar temperature surfaces based on image difference statistics. In terms of accuracy, speed, and ease of implementation, LLRA was chosen as the best of the methods tested.
Additional publication details
Daily air temperature interpolated at high spatial resolution over a large mountainous region