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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(8), 655;

A Spatial Downscaling Algorithm for Satellite-Based Precipitation over the Tibetan Plateau Based on NDVI, DEM, and Land Surface Temperature

State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Roberto Colombo, Alfredo R. Huete and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 25 April 2016 / Revised: 3 August 2016 / Accepted: 10 August 2016 / Published: 13 August 2016
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Precipitation is an important controlling parameter for land surface processes, and is crucial to ecological, environmental, and hydrological modeling. In this study, we propose a spatial downscaling approach based on precipitation–land surface characteristics. Land surface temperature features were introduced as new variables in addition to the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Digital Elevation Model (DEM) to improve the spatial downscaling algorithm. Two machine learning algorithms, Random Forests (RF) and support vector machine (SVM), were implemented to downscale the yearly Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission 3B43 V7 (TRMM 3B43 V7) precipitation data from 25 km to 1 km over the Tibetan Plateau area, and the downscaled results were validated on the basis of observations from meteorological stations and comparisons with previous downscaling algorithms. According to the validation results, the RF and SVM-based models produced higher accuracy than the exponential regression (ER) model and multiple linear regression (MLR) model. The downscaled results also had higher accuracy than the original TRMM 3B43 V7 dataset. Moreover, models including land surface temperature variables (LSTs) performed better than those without LSTs, indicating the significance of considering precipitation–land surface temperature when downscaling TRMM 3B43 V7 precipitation data. The RF model with only NDVI and DEM produced much worse accuracy than the SVM model with the same variables. This indicates that the Random Forests algorithm is more sensitive to LSTs than the SVM when downscaling yearly TRMM 3B43 V7 precipitation data over Tibetan Plateau. Moreover, the precipitation–LSTs relationship is more instantaneous, making it more likely to downscale precipitation at a monthly or weekly temporal scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: precipitation; spatial downscaling; land surface temperature; random forests; SVM precipitation; spatial downscaling; land surface temperature; random forests; SVM

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Jing, W.; Yang, Y.; Yue, X.; Zhao, X. A Spatial Downscaling Algorithm for Satellite-Based Precipitation over the Tibetan Plateau Based on NDVI, DEM, and Land Surface Temperature. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 655.

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