Evaluation of satellite rainfall estimates over the Chinese Mainland

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Benefiting from the high spatiotemporal resolution and near-global coverage, satellite-based precipitation products are applied in many research fields. However, the applications of these products may be limited due to lack of information on the uncertainties. To facilitate applications of these products, it is crucial to quantify and document their error characteristics. In this study, four satellite-based precipitation products (TRMM-3B42, TRMM-3B42RT, CMORPH, GSMaP) were evaluated using gauge-based rainfall analysis based on a high-density gauge network throughout the Chinese Mainland during 2003-2006. To quantitatively evaluate satellite-based precipitation products, continuous (e.g., ME, RMSE, CC) and categorical (e.g., POD, FAR) verification statistics were used in this study. The results are as follows: (1) GSMaP and CMORPH underestimated precipitation (about -0.53 and -0.14 mm/day, respectively); TRMM-3B42RT overestimated precipitation (about 0.73 mm/day); TRMM-3B42, which is the only dataset corrected by gauges, had the best estimation of precipitation amongst all four products; (2) GSMaP, CMORPH and TRMM-3B42RT overestimated the frequency of low-intensity rainfall events; TRMM-3B42 underestimated the frequency of low-intensity rainfall events; GSMaP underestimated the frequency of high-intensity rainfall events; TRMM-3B42RT tended to overestimate the frequency of high-intensity rainfall events; TRMM-3B42 and CMORPH produced estimations of high-intensity rainfall frequency that best aligned with observations; (3) All four satellite-based precipitation products performed better in summer than in winter. They also had better performance over wet southern region than dry northern or high altitude regions. Overall, this study documented error characteristics of four satellite-based precipitation products over the Chinese Mainland. The results help to understand features of these datasets for users and improve algorithms for algorithm developers in the future.




Qin, Y., Chen, Z., Shen, Y., Zhang, S., & Shi, R. (2014). Evaluation of satellite rainfall estimates over the Chinese Mainland. Remote Sensing, 6(11), 11649–11672. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs61111649

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