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Water 2016, 8(7), 281; doi:10.3390/w8070281

Evaluation of Satellite Precipitation Products with Rain Gauge Data at Different Scales: Implications for Hydrological Applications

1,2
and
1,*
1
Key Laboratory of Watershed Geographic Sciences, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 73 East Beijing Road, Nanjing 210008, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 19 Yuquan Road, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Y. Jun Xu
Received: 21 February 2016 / Revised: 27 June 2016 / Accepted: 29 June 2016 / Published: 9 July 2016
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Abstract

Rain gauge and satellite-retrieved data have been widely used in basin-scale hydrological applications. While rain gauges provide accurate measurements that are generally unevenly distributed in space, satellites offer spatially regular observations and common error prone retrieval. Comparative evaluation of gauge-based and satellite-based data is necessary in hydrological studies, as precipitation is the most important input in basin-scale water balance. This study uses quality-controlled rain gauge data and prevailing satellite products (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) 3B43, 3B42 and 3B42RT) to examine the consistency and discrepancies between them at different scales. Rain gauges and TRMM products were available in the Poyang Lake Basin, China, from 1998 to 2007 (3B42RT: 2000–2007). Our results show that the performance of TRMM products generally increases with increasing spatial scale. At both the monthly and annual scales, the accuracy is highest for TRMM 3B43, with 3B42 second and 3B42RT third. TRMM products generally overestimate precipitation because of a high frequency and degree of overestimation in light and moderate rain cases. At the daily scale, the accuracy is relatively low between TRMM 3B42 and 3B42RT. Meanwhile, the performances of TRMM 3B42 and 3B42RT are highly variable in different seasons. At both the basin and pixel scales, TRMM 3B43 and 3B42 exhibit significant discrepancies from July to September, performing worst in September. For TRMM 3B42RT, all statistical indices fluctuate and are low throughout the year, performing worst in July at the pixel scale and January at the basin scale. Furthermore, the spatial distributions of the statistical indices of TRMM 3B43 and 3B42 performed well, while TRMM 3B42RT displayed a poor performance. View Full-Text
Keywords: rain gauge data; TRMM products; discrepancy; basin scale; hydrological application rain gauge data; TRMM products; discrepancy; basin scale; hydrological application
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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Guo, R.; Liu, Y. Evaluation of Satellite Precipitation Products with Rain Gauge Data at Different Scales: Implications for Hydrological Applications. Water 2016, 8, 281.

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