This research discusses some of the issues encountered while developing a set of WGEN parameters for Chile and advice for others interested in developing WGEN parameters for arid climates. The WGEN program is a commonly used and a valuable research tool; however, it has specific limitations in arid climates that need careful consideration. These limitations are analysed in the context of generating a set of WGEN parameters for Chile. Fourteen to 26 years of precipitation data are used to calculate precipitation parameters for 18 locations in Chile, and 3–8 years of temperature and solar radiation data are analysed to generate parameters for seven of these locations. Results indicate that weather generation parameters in arid regions are sensitive to erroneous or missing precipitation data. Research shows that the WGEN-estimated gamma distribution shape parameter (α) for daily precipitation in arid zones will tend to cluster around discrete values of 0 or 1, masking the high sensitivity of these parameters to additional data. Rather than focus on the length in years when assessing the adequacy of a data record for estimation of precipitation parameters, researchers should focus on the number of wet days in dry months in a data set. Analysis of the WGEN routines for the estimation of temperature and solar radiation parameters indicates that errors can occur when individual ‘months’ have fewer than two wet days in the data set. Recommendations are provided to improve methods for estimation of WGEN parameters in arid climates
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