1. General Model Information

Name: Precipitation-elevation Regression Independent Slopes Model

Acronym: PRISM

Main medium: air
Main subject: meteorology, hydrology
Organization level:
Type of model: not specified
Main application:
Keywords: climate mapping, spatial climate datasets, atmospheric, rainfall


Christopher Daly
Oregon State University
Spatial Climate Analysis Service
Strand Agriculture Hall, Room 316
Corvallis, OR 97331-2209

Phone: (541) 737-2531
Fax: (541) 737-5710
email: daly@oce.orst.edu
Homepage: http://www.ocs.orst.edu/prism/contacts.html


Daly, C. R.P. Nielson, D.L. Phillips.


The PRISM Climate Mapping Program is an ongoing effort to produce and disseminate the most detailed, highest-quality spatial climate datasets currently available. These digital climate maps are created using PRISM (Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model) an analytical tool that uses point data, a digital elevation model, and other spatial data sets to generate gridded estimates of monthly, yearly, and event-based climatic parameters, such as precipitation, temperature, snowfall, degree days, and dew point. PRISM derived data sets have been and are being used in applications of climatology, hydrology, natural resources, global climate change, land use, planning, relocation, education, and geography. PRISM is uniquely designed and constantly updated to map climate in the most difficult situations, including high mountains, rain shadows, temperature inversions, coastal regions, and other complex climatic regimes. PRISM climate mapping projects are being conducted in the United States, Canada, China, Mongolia, Europe, Pacific Islands, and elsewhere.

The program is a collaboration between the Spatial Climate Analysis Service, directed by Dr. Christopher Daly, Assistant Professor, and the Oregon Climate Service, directed by George Taylor, State Climatologist. Both the SCAS and OCS are located on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis.
Source of the abstract:Spatial Climate Analysis Service/Oregon Climate Service (1999): http://www.ocs.orst.edu/prism/prism_new.html

PRISM (Precipitation-elevation Regression Independent Slopes Model) is an analytical-interpolation model used to distribute monthly and annual precipitation on a regular grid for use in vegetation modeling, hydrologic calculations and climatic studies. This model is designed to be used to generate input for other models requiring this type of information.
The model uses DEM (Digital Elevation Models) to estimate elevation or precipitation stations and proper orographic scales. It then groups stations into topographic scales. The model requires input in the form of monthly or annual precipitation measurements, and DEM at 2.5 or 5-minute resolutions. Output includes gridded monthly or annual precipitation estimates and a 95% prediction interval.

II. Technical Information

II.1 Executables:

Operating System(s): UNIX

II.2 Source-code:

Programming Language(s): FORTRAN (C)

II.3 Manuals:

PRISM Guide Book (1999) - over 2 MB each
PRISM Overview (1996)

II.4 Data:

III. Mathematical Information

III.1 Mathematics

III.2 Quantities

III.2.1 Input

III.2.2 Output

IV. References

Daly, C. R.P. Nielson, D.L. Phillips. 1994. A statistical-topographic model for mapping climatological precipitation over mountainous terrain. J. Appl. Met. 33:140- 158.
Daly, C., G. Taylor, and W. Gibson, 1997.The PRISM Approach to Mapping Precipitation and Temperature, 10th Conf. on Applied Climatology, Reno,NV, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 10-12.
Gibson, W., C. Daly, and G. Taylor, 1997. Derivation of Facet Grids for Use with the PRISM Model, 10th Conf. on Applied Climatology, Reno, NV, Amer.Meteor. Soc., 208-209.
Johnson, G.L., Daly, C., G. Taylor, C. L. Hanson, and Y. Lu, 1997. GEM Model Temperature and Precipitation Parameter Variablity, and Distribution Using PRISM, Reno, NV, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 210-214.
Parzybok, T., W. Gibson, C. Daly, and G. Taylor, 1997. Quality Assurance of Climatological Data for the VEMAP Project, 10th Conf. on Applied Climatology, Reno, NV, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 215-216.
Taylor, G., C. Daly, W. Gibson, and J. Sibul-Weisburg, 1997. Digital and Map Products Produced Using PRISM, 10th Conf. on Applied Climatology, Reno, NV, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 217-218.
Kittel, T.G.F., et al, 1997. A Gridded Historical (1895-1993) Bioclimate Dataset for the Conterminous United States, 10th Conf. on Applied Climatology, Reno, NV, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 219-222.
Taylor, G.H., C. Daly and W.P. Gibson, 1995. Development of a Model for Use in Estimating the Spatial Distribution of Precipitation, 9th Conf. on Applied Climatology, Dallas, TX, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 92-93.

V. Further information in the World-Wide-Web

VI. Additional remarks

Global change implications: This model could be helpful inglobal change research to calibrate precipitation and to providea means to standardize precipitation input if a grid-based formatis required. Because many crop, pest, forest and hydrologicmodels require weather variables at run-time, this model couldprove valuable in increasing the resolution and/or accuracy ofweather data currently used to drive models.
Last review of this document by: T. Gabele: 08. 07. 1997 -
Status of the document:
last modified by Tobias Gabele Wed Aug 21 21:44:47 CEST 2002

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