Submitted to: Ecological Modelling
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/12/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The need for weather data is central to many types of agricultural or water resource analyses. Often, weather data are not available for specific sites, or the data are of insufficient length for the desired analysis. Weather generators that produce synthetic weather data offer an attractive alternative to actual weather data. A weather generator called WGEN had previously been developed for generating weather for the 48 conterminous states of the US; however, no weather generator was available for Alaska. The weather generator WGENAL, based of WGEN, was developed for use in Alaska. WGENAL produces daily weather data for sites in Alaska with many of the same statistical properties as actual data.
Technical Abstract: A specific problem encountered in ecosystem-level simulation of Arctic ecosystems is the depth and extent of the driving variable record. Often, climate records are of short duration, gathered at locations different from the area to be simulated, or do not contain all the variables required by a given model. Also, when adequate weather records are available, they are usually used to formulate the relationships in the model or they are used to validate the model once it is built. (The same weather record should not be used for both.) This paper addresses this problem for ecosystem simulation in Alaska with the development of a weather generator. The generator, called WGENAL, is based on the WGEN climate generator developed and validated in the 48 conterminous states. WGENAL generates daily values of precipitation, maximum temperature, minimum temperature, solar radiation, and wind run. Precipitation is generated using a Markov chain-gamma model. A two-parameter gamma distribution is used to generate wind run. Temperatures and solar radiation are generated using procedures developed in the earlier study. Validation of the generator shows it provides adequate diurnal and seasonal weather records for Fairbanks. Other comparisons of synthetic weather with observed weather for sites north of the Brooks Range in Alaska are also within the error of the original data.