Sampling error of areal average rainfall due to radar partial coverage

Chulsang Yoo, Jungsoo Yoon, Eunho Ha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Areal average rainfall is important as it is used as an input for most rainfall-runoff analysis in Hydrology and Water Resources. Different from traditional methods of using rain gauge data, the use of radar rainfall for the estimation of areal average rainfall is very straightforward. However, in some cases with severe terrain blockages, the value of the incomplete radar information is of serious concern. This study investigated this problem and derived an equation for estimating the error involved in the areal average rainfall due to partial radar coverage of a basin or sub-basin. When only partial radar information is available, the sampling error decreases with increasing radar coverage and the number of radar bin clusters. As an application example, this study considered the Han River Basin with its rainfall observations using the Ganghwa rain radar. Among a total of 24 mid-sized sub-basins in the Han River Basin evaluated, only five sub-basins were fully covered by the radar and three were totally uncovered. The remaining 16 sub-basins were covered partially by radar leading to incomplete radar information. The results show that the sampling error ranged from several % to tens % of standard deviation of the areal average rainfall depending on the relative areal radar coverage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1097-1111
Number of pages15
JournalStochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Dec


  • Areal average rainfall
  • Partial coverage
  • Radar rainfall
  • Sampling error

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science(all)


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