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CR 24:161-180 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/cr024161

Comparative analysis of interpolation methods in the middle Ebro Valley (Spain): application to annual precipitation and temperature

Sergio M. Vicente-Serrano*, M. Angel Saz-Sánchez, José M. Cuadrat

Department of Geography, University of Zaragoza, Campus San Francisco, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain

ABSTRACT: This paper analyzes the validity of various precipitation and temperature maps obtained by means of diverse interpolation methods. The study was carried out in an area where geographic differences and spatial climatic diversity are significant (the middle Ebro Valley in the northeast of Spain). Two variables, annual precipitation and temperature, and several interpolation methods were used in the climate mapping: global interpolators (trend surfaces and regression models), local interpolators (Thiessen polygons, inverse distance weighting, splines), geostatistical methods (simple kriging, ordinary kriging, block kriging, directional kriging, universal kriging and co-kriging) and mixed methods (combined global, local and geostatistical methods). The validity of the maps was checked through independent test weather stations (30% of the original stations). Different statistical accuracy measurements determined the quality of the models. The results show that some interpolation methods are very similar. Nevertheless, in the case of precipitation maps, we obtained the best results using geostatistical methods and a regression model formed by 4 geographic and topographic variables. The best results for temperature mapping were obtained using the regression-based method. The accuracy measurements obtained by the different interpolation methods change significantly depending on the climatic variable mapped. The validity of interpolation methods in the creation of climatic maps, useful for agricultural and hydrologic management, is discussed.

KEY WORDS: Interpolation · Geostatistical techniques · Regression · Temperature · Precipitation · Ebro Valley · Spain

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