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Cligen is a stochastic weather generator which produces daily estimates of precipitation, temperature, dewpoint, wind, and solar radiation for a single geographic point, using monthly parameters (means, SD's, skewness, etc.) derived from the historic measurements. Unlike other climate generators, it produces individual storm parameter estimates, including time to peak, peak intensity, and storm duration, which are required to run the WEPP and the WEPS soil erosion models. Station parameter files to run Cligen for several thousand U. S. sites are available for download from this website: also data and software to build station files for international sites. With the exception of Tmin, Tmax, and Tdew temperatures (changed in January 2004), daily estimates for each parameter are generated independently of the others. With the current random number generator, subsequent runs on the same machine made with identical inputs will produce identical results.

Users of daily simulation models should consider the impacts of Cligen's characteristics on their application. Individual parameter distributions may be expected to reproduce monthly historic distributions quite well. However, if the model in question is sensitive to the daily interactions of two or more of the parameters Cligen produces, Cligen may not be the most appropriate weather generator to use. This is because for a given day, it generates solar radiation, and maximum and minimum temperatures completely independently from precipitation. Experience and common sense tell us that these parameters are NOT independent. In practice this may not be a huge issue, since it is not uncommon for models to be sensitive to one weather parameter on a daily basis, and relatively insensitive to the others, as long as their monthly trends are preserved.

Dataset Info

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Nicks, Arlin D.
Gander, Gene A.
Product Type
United States Department of Agriculture
Contact Name
Frankenberger, Jim
Contact Email
Public Access Level
Primary Article

Zhang, X., & Garbrecht, J. (2003). Evaluation Of Cligen Precipitation Parameters And Their Implication On Wepp Runoff And Erosion Prediction. American Society Of Agricultural Engineers, 46(2), 311-320.

AgID: 812979
Related Article

Johnson, G., Hanson, C., Hardegree, S., & Ballard, E. (1996). Stochastic Weather Simulation: Overview and Analysis of Two Commonly Used Models. Journal Of Applied Meteorology, 35(10), 1878-1896. doi: 10.1175/1520-0450(1996)035<1878:SWSOAA>2.0.CO;2

AgID: 8997
Related Content
Funding Source(s)
Agricultural Research Service
Program Code
005:037 - Department of Agriculture - Research and Education
Bureau Code
005:18 - Agricultural Research Service
Modified Date
Release Date
Ag Data Commons Keywords: 
  • Agroecosystems & Environment
ISO Topic(s):