Small-scale climate maps: A sensitivity analysis of some common assumptions associated with grid-point interpolation and contouring

Cort J. Willmott, Clinton M. Rowe, William D. Philpot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

From Shepard’s (1968) local-search method, algorithms are developed for contouring on spherical surfaces and in Cartesian two-space. These algorithms are used to investigate errors on small-scale climate maps caused by the common practice of interpolating-from irregularly- spaced data points to regular-lattice nodes-and contouring in Cartesian two-space. Using mean annual air temperatures drawn from 100 irregularly-spaced weather stations, the annual air- temperature field over the western half of the northern hemisphere is estimated both on the sphere (assumed to be correct) and in Cartesian two-space. When these fields are mapped and compared, error magnitudes as large as 5° to 10° C appear in the air-temperature field approximated in Cartesian two-space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Cartographer
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Climate
  • Contouring
  • Interpolation
  • Surface mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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