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Keywords:

  • precipitation;
  • European Alps;
  • spatial interpolation

[1] A new precipitation data set for the Greater Alpine Region (GAR; 4°E–19°E, 43°N–49°N) has been developed. It provides monthly precipitation totals, for the 1800–2003 period, gridded at 10-min resolution. The new HISTALP 10-min-grid data set is based on 192 long-term homogenized precipitation series from meteorological stations across the study domain and a high-resolution precipitation climatology for the 1971–1990 period. The effective coverage of the data set depends on the observations available in the station network which progressively declines back to the early 19th century (from 192 to 5 stations). To aid the use of these data in other studies, an accompanying data set has also been developed, which provides a measure of the quality of each monthly precipitation estimate over the grid: the explained variance, relative to the 1931–2000 (maximum data availability) period. The computed quality score illustrates the comparatively poorer accuracy of the data set for regions and months with less coherent precipitation fields (i.e., over the Alps and in summer) and when the number of stations is reduced, particularly before 1840. The derived gridded field has also been compared for the whole and geographical subregions with other independently developed data sets and is found to provide a similar description of the precipitation in the GAR for places and periods of common coverage. The data set is publicly available at http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/.