A site-specific rainfall model for Western Virginia ecosystems

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Virginia Tech

A computerized system for estimating rainfall values was developed for western Virginia using data from 15 weather stations in that area. This system, called VARAINS for VirginiA RAINfall System, is designed to run on a microcomputer. System programs were created using Borland Pascal, version 7. The system models were developed using study station coordinates, elevation, aspect, distance from West Virginia, distance to the Virginia coast, as well as transformations, as independent variables. Additionally, a distance-weighting variable was developed using the inverse distance to each of the 5 closest study stations. The system provides estimates for annual, seasonal, and monthly rainfall at single or multiple ungaged sites. Rainfall models were validated using comparable periods of record from 3 stations within the study zone not previously used to develop study models. VARAINS was demonstrated using 4 sites occurring on the Havens Wildlife Management Area of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Potential system applications for wildlife management include incorporating system output files into a geographic information system, using Outputs as independent variables in regression analyses of habitat phenomena, and in ecosystem models of interest in endangered species research. Ideas for supplemental research on the model are explored and include testing VARAINS in other areas, evaluating the impact of using fewer years of data in model development, and combining these models with those developed in a recently completed temperature study.