Downscaling daily air-temperature measurements in the Netherlands

Marieke Dirksen*, Wouter H. Knap, Gert Jan Steeneveld, Albert A.M. Holtslag, Albert M.G. Klein Tank

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


High-resolution, regularly gridded air-temperature maps are frequently used in climatology, hydrology, and ecology. Within the Netherlands, 34 official automatic weather stations (AWSs) are operated by the National Met Service according to World Meteorological Organization (WMO) standards. Although the measurements are of high quality, the spatial density of the AWSs is not sufficient to reconstruct the temperature on a 1-km-resolution grid. Therefore, a new methodology for daily temperature reconstruction from 1990 to 2017 is proposed, using linear regression and multiple adaptive regression splines. The daily 34 AWS measurements are interpolated using eight different predictors: diurnal temperature range, population density, elevation, albedo, solar irradiance, roughness, precipitation, and vegetation index. Results are cross-validated for the AWS locations and compared with independent citizen weather observations. The RMSE of the reference method ordinary kriging amounts to 2.6 °C whereas using the new methods the RMSE drops below 1.0 °C. Especially for cities, a substantial improvement of the predictions is found. Independent predictions are on average 0.3 °C less biased than ordinary kriging at 40 high-quality citizen measurement sites. With this new method, we have improved the representation of local temperature variations within the Netherlands. The temperature maps presented here can have applications in urban heat island studies, local trend analysis, and model evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-767
JournalTheoretical and Applied Climatology
Early online date12 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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