User’s Manual for the Draper Climate-Distribution Software Suite with Data-Evaluation Tools

Techniques and Methods 7-C22
Prepared in cooperation with the California Department of Water Resources
By:  and 



Development of a time series of spatially distributed climate data is an important step in the process of developing physically based environmental models requiring distributed inputs of climate data beyond what is available from observations collected at climate stations. To prepare inputs required for model-mapping units across the study area, climate data (temperature and precipitation) are distributed by combining data from gridded surfaces of mean-monthly climate-data values with (often) widely spaced daily point observations. Examples of climate-data files used to develop PRMS-formatted input files for the Merced River Basin Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) are included in this manual.

The Draper Climate-Distribution Software Suite (Draper Suite) consists of the Draper climate-distribution program (Draper) and several supporting pre- and post-processing applications. Draper combines spatially distributed input in the form of monthly averaged values for precipitation, maximum temperature, and minimum temperature with daily observed data from climate stations to estimate distributed climate-data values at predefined locations across a study area (typically a drainage basin) on a daily time step. Alternative methods are used when station data are limited or missing for a particular day. Draper uses a set of required and optional input and output files with defined formats and naming conventions. A shell application also is available to manage multiple runs of the Draper application.

Other applications in the Draper Suite include (1) a tool to find and interactively remove outliers in the input data, (2) a tool to check and enforce a minimum daily temperature range, and (3) a tool to view output diagnostic information as time-series graphs. These tools can be used iteratively to evaluate and improve the results from Draper as part of a workflow involving physically based environmental models, such as the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS).

Suggested Citation

Donovan, J.M., and Koczot, K.M., 2019, User’s manual for the Draper climate-distribution software suite with data‑evaluation tools: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 7-C22, 55 p.,

ISSN: 2328-7055 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Implementation
  • Evaluating and Improving Results
  • Iterative Processing for Best Results
  • References Cited
  • Glossary
  • Appendixes 1—8

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title User’s manual for the Draper climate-distribution software suite with data‑evaluation tools
Series title Techniques and Methods
Series number 7-C22
DOI 10.3133/tm7C22
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description viii, 55 p
Online Only (Y/N) Y