Hydroelectric plants require precise and timely estimates of rain, snow and other hydrometeors for operations. However, it is far from being a trivial task to measure and predict precipitation. This paper presents the linkages between precipitation science and hydroelectricity, and in doing so it provides insight into current research directions that are relevant for this renewable energy. Methods described include radars, disdrometers, satellites and numerical models. Two recent advances that have the potential of being highly beneficial for hydropower operations are featured: the Global Precipitation Measuring (GPM) mission, which represents an important leap forward in precipitation observations from space, and high performance computing (HPC) and grid technology, that allows building ensembles of numerical weather and climate models.
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