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Defining dry/wet spells for point observations, observed area averages, and regional climate model gridboxes in Europe

  • Lars Bärring
  • Tom Holt
  • Maj-Lena Linderson
  • Madej Radziejewski
  • Marco Moriondo
  • Jean P. Palutikof
Publishing year: 2006
Language: English
Pages: 35-49
Publication/Series: Climate Research
Volume: 31
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Inter-Research

Abstract english

A new method for optimising threshold values of dry/wet spells is evaluated. A set of indices is used to find the best threshold giving good correspondence between the frequency of dry/wet spells in Hadley Centre regional model (HadRM3) output, reference observations with predetermined thresholds, and area-averaged observations. The analyses focus on selected model gridboxes in 3 different European climate regimes (Sweden, UK, Italy), where station data are available from several locations. In addition, a pan-European analysis using the European Climate Assessment (ECA) dataset is carried out. Generally, there is good agreement between point observations and the corresponding area average using the common thresholds of 0.1 or 1.0 mm with observational data. Applying the optimal thresholds on the model output is important, as it typically results in substantially better agreement between the simulated and observed series of dry/wet days. The fitted optimal pan-European dry/wet threshold is (1) 0.47 or 0.15 mm, depending on model version, for the observed point data threshold of 0.1 mm, and (2) 1.2 or 0.56 mm, depending on model version, for the threshold of 1.0 mm.


  • Physical Geography
  • regional climate model
  • precipitation
  • areal
  • Europe
  • wet spell
  • dry spell


  • ISSN: 1616-1572
Maj-Lena Linderson
E-mail: maj-lena [dot] linderson [at] nateko [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science

+46 46 222 84 07

+46 72 553 36 82



Teaching staff

Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science



ICOS Sweden


Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Lund University
Sölvegatan 12
S-223 62 Lund

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