Assessment of Precipitation Error Propagation in Discharge Simulations over the Contiguous United States

Nergui Nanding, Huan Wu, Jing Tao, Viviana Maggioni, Hylke E. Beck, Naijun Zhou, Maoyi Huang, Zhijun Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study characterizes precipitation error propagation through a distributed hydrological model based on the river basins across the contiguous United States (CONUS), to better understand the relationship between errors in precipitation inputs and simulated discharge (i.e., P–Q error relationship). The NLDAS-2 precipitation and its simulated discharge are used as the reference to compare with TMPA-3B42 V7, TMPA-3B42RT V7, Stage IV, CPC-U, MERRA-2, and MSWEP V2.2 for 1548 well-gauged river basins. The relative errors in multiple conventional precipitation products and their corresponding discharges are analyzed for the period of 2002–13. The results reveal positive linear P–Q error relationships at annual and monthly time scales, and the stronger linearity for larger temporal accumulations. Precipitation errors can be doubled in simulated annual accumulated discharge. Moreover, precipitation errors are strongly dampened in basins characterized by temperate and continental climate regimes, particularly for peak discharges, showing highly non-linear relationships. Radar-based precipitation product consistently shows dampening effects on error propagation through discharge simulations at different accumulation time scales compared to the other precipitation products. Although basin size and topography also influence the P–Q error relationship and propagation of precipitation errors, their roles depend largely on precipitation products, seasons, and climate regimes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1987-2008
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-02-14

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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