Evaluation of Long-Term Radar-Derived Precipitation for Water Balance Estimates: A Case Study for Multiple Catchments in Saxony, Germany

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Quality of water balance estimations are strongly dependent on the precipitation input. The key limitation here is typically a lack of spatial representation in precipitation data. Quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) using radar is recognized as capable to significantly enhance the spatial representation of precipitation compared to conventional rain gauge-based methods by calibrating radar pixels with surrounding rain gauges. However, the measured precipitation is often underestimated due to wind drift or funnel evaporation, particularly in mountainous areas. Thus, a post-correction is required before applying radar precipitation in water balance models. Here, we applied the Richter correction for the first time to a radar-based QPE, to model the water balance in ten catchments in Saxony, Germany. The hydrological responses for the period 2001-2017 from the model were validated with discharge observations. The results show that radar data application yielded reliable simulations of water balance (KGE = 0.53 and 0.70 at daily and monthly resolutions, respectively). However, a simple compensation such as the Richter method to conventional precipitation should be used with caution. This study shows that radar-based precipitation has immense potential to advance quality of the precipitation input to distributed hydrologic models not only for flood events but also for climatological analyses.


Original languageEnglish
Article number204
Number of pages23
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2022

External IDs

WOS 000895072900001
Scopus 85149490955
ORCID /0000-0002-4246-5290/work/142245182
ORCID /0000-0001-7489-9061/work/142249625
ORCID /0000-0003-3200-7410/work/150885289


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis


  • Richter correction, Discharge, Radar-based precipitation, Rain gauges, Water balance simulation