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Modeling and mapping temperature and precipitation climate data in Greece using topographical and geographical parameters


This study presents a methodology for modeling and mapping the seasonal and annual air temperature and precipitation climate normals over Greece using several topographical and geographical parameters. Data series of air temperature and precipitation from 84 weather stations distributed evenly over Greece are used along with a set of topographical and geographical parameters extracted with Geographic Information System methods from a digital elevation model (DEM). Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) obtained from MODIS Aqua satellite data is also used as a geographical parameter. First, the relation of the two climate elements to the topographical and geographical parameters was investigated based on the Pearson’s correlation coefficient to identify the parameters that mostly affect the spatial variability of air temperature and precipitation over Greece. Then a backward stepwise multiple regression was applied to add topographical and geographical parameters as independent variables into a regression equation and develop linear estimation models for both climate parameters. These models are subjected to residual correction using different local interpolation methods, in an attempt to refine the estimated values. The validity of these models is checked through cross-validation error statistics against an independent test subset of station data. The topographical and geographical parameters used as independent variables in the multiple regression models are mostly those found to be strongly correlated with both climatic variables. Models perform best for annual and spring temperatures and effectively for winter and autumn temperatures. Summer temperature spatial variability is rather poorly simulated by the multiple regression model. On the contrary, best performance is obtained for summer and autumn precipitation while the multiple regression model is not able to simulate effectively the spatial distribution of spring precipitation. Results revealed also a relatively weaker model performance for precipitation than that for air temperature probably due to the highly variable nature of precipitation compared to the relatively low spatial variability of air temperature field. The correction of the developed regression models using residuals improved though not significantly the interpolation accuracy.

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This research has been co-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) and Greek national funds through the Operational Program “Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship” of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF)—Research Funding, Program COOPERATION 2009 (no 09COP-31-1094, Title “Development of a Geographic Climate Information System”).

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Correspondence to Haralambos Feidas.

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Feidas, H., Karagiannidis, A., Keppas, S. et al. Modeling and mapping temperature and precipitation climate data in Greece using topographical and geographical parameters. Theor Appl Climatol 118, 133–146 (2014).

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  • Root Mean Square Error
  • Normalize Difference Vegetation Index
  • Kriging
  • Digital Elevation Model
  • Geographic Information System