EGU21-3088, updated on 03 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Space-Time Analysis of Precipitation Reanalysis Data for the Island of Crete using Gaussian Anamorphosis with Hermite Polynomials

Vasiliki D. Agou1, Andreas Pavlides1, and Dionissios T. Hristopulos2
Vasiliki D. Agou et al.
  • 1School of Mineral Resources Engineering, Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece (
  • 2School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece (

Societies seek to ensure sustainable development in the face of climate change, population increase, and increased demands for natural resources. Understanding, modeling, and forecasting the spatiotemporal patterns of precipitation are central to this effort [1-3]. Spatiotemporal models of precipitation with global validity are not available. This is due to the non-Gaussian distribution of precipitation as well as its intermittent nature and strong dependence on the geographic location and the space-time scales analyzed.  Herein we investigate the spatiotemporal patterns of precipitation on a Mediterranean island using geostatistical methods. 

We use ERA5 reanalysis precipitation products from the Copernicus Climate Change Service [4].  The dataset includes 31980 values of monthly precipitation height (mm) for a period of 492 consecutive months (January 1979 to December 2019) at the nodes of a 5 × 13 spatial grid that covers the island of Crete (Greece). This results in an average spatial resolution of approximately 0.28 degrees (corresponding to an approximate grid cell size of 31 km).  

We construct a spatial model of monthly precipitation using Gaussian anamorphosis (GA). GA employs nonlinear transformations to normalize the probability distribution of the data. It is extensively used in various environmental applications [5-6].  The methodology that we follow involves (i) normalizing the precipitation data per month using GA with Hermite polynomials, (ii) estimating spatial correlations and fitting them to the Spartan variogram family [6], (iii) ordinary kriging (OK) of the normalized data in order to generate precipitation estimates on a denser map grid, and (iv) application of the inverse GA transform to generate monthly precipitation maps. We also use cross-validation analysis to determine the kriging interpolation performance, first using the untransformed precipitation data and then the Hermite-polynomial GA approach outlined above. We find that Hermite-polynomial GA significantly improves the cross-validation measures.


Keywords: Gaussian anamorphosis, Hermite polynomials, Mediterranean island, non-Gaussian, ordinary kriging, Spartan variogram



1. D. Allard, and M. Bourotte, 2015. Disaggregating daily precipitations into hourly values with a transformed censored latent Gaussian process. Stochastic Environ. Res. Risk Assess, 29(2), pp. 453– 462.

2. A. Baxevani, and J. Lennartsson, 2015. A spatiotemporal precipitation generator based on a censored latent Gaussian field, Water Resources Research, 51(6), 4338–4358.

3. C. Lussana, T. N. Nipen, I. A. Seierstad, and C. A. Elo, 2020. Ensemble-based statistical interpolation with Gaussian anamorphosis for the spatial analysis of precipitation. Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, 1–43.

4. C3S, C. C. C. S., 2018. ERA5: Fifth generation of ECMWF atmospheric reanalyses of the global climate. Data retrieved from:!/home.

5. N. Cressie, 1993. Spatial Statistics. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

6. D. T. Hristopulos, 2020. Random Fields for Spatial Data Modeling. Springer Netherlands,

How to cite: Agou, V. D., Pavlides, A., and Hristopulos, D. T.: Space-Time Analysis of Precipitation Reanalysis Data for the Island of Crete using Gaussian Anamorphosis with Hermite Polynomials, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3088,, 2021.

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