Improved statistical downscaling of daily precipitation using SDSM platform and data-mining methods



In this paper, an extension of the statistical downscaling model (SDSM), namely data-mining downscaling model (DMDM), has been developed. DMDM has the same platform as the most cited statistical downscaling models, namely SDSM and ASD. Multiple linear regression (MLR), ridge regression (RR), multivariate adaptive regression splines (MARS) and model tree (MT) constitute the mathematical core of DMDM. DMDM uses linear basis functions in MARS and linear regression rules in MT to keep the linear structure of SDSM; therefore, all of the SDSM assumptions are also valid in DMDM. These methods highlight the effect of data partitioning for meteorological predictors in the downscaling procedure. Inputs and output of the presented approaches are the same as SDSM and ASD. In the case study of this research, NCEP/NCAR databases have been used for calibration and validation. According to the inherent linearity of the methods, suitable predictor selection has been done with stepwise regression as a preprocessing stage. The results of DMDM have been compared with observed precipitation in 12 rain gauge stations that are scattered in different basins in Iran and represent different climate regimes. Comparison between the results of SDSM and DMDM has indicated that the presented approach can highly improve downscaling efficiency in terms of reproducing monthly standard deviation and skewness for both calibration and validation datasets. Among the proposed methods in DMDM, the results of the case study have shown that MT has provided better performances both in modelling occurrence and amount of precipitation. Also, MT is potentially recognized as a powerful diagnostic tool that could extract information in key atmospheric drivers affecting local weather. It also has fewer parameters during dry seasons, in which the number of historical precipitation events might not be enough for calibrating SDSM model in many arid and semi-arid regions.