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Evaluation of Three-Hourly TMPA Rainfall Products Using Telemetric Rain Gauge Observations at Lai Nullah Basin in Islamabad, Pakistan

Department of Space Science, Institute of Space Technology (IST), Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
Hagler Bailly Pakistan, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
SERVIR-Mekong, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Institute of Geographical Information System (IGIS), National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(12), 2040;
Received: 14 October 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 14 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Precipitation)
PDF [9726 KB, uploaded 20 December 2018]


Flash floods which occur due to heavy rainfall in hilly and semi-hilly areas may prove deleterious when they hit urban centers. The prediction of such localized and heterogeneous phenomena is a challenge due to a scarcity of in-situ rainfall. A possible solution is the utilization of satellite-based precipitation products. The current study evaluates the efficacy of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) three-hourly products, i.e., 3B42 near-real-time (3B42RT) and 3B42 research version (3B42V7) at a sub-daily time scale. Various categorical indices have been used to assess the capability of products in the detection of rain/no-rain. Hourly rain rates are assessed by employing the most commonly used statistical measures, such as correlation coefficients (CC), mean bias error (MBE), mean absolute error (MAE), and root-mean-square error (RMSE). Further, a diurnal analysis is performed to authenticate TMPA’s performance in specific hours of the day. In general, the results show the good capability of both TMPA products in the detection of rain/no-rain events in all seasons except winter. Specifically, 3B42V7 performed better than 3B42RT. Moreover, both products detect a high number of rainy days falsely in light rain ranges. Regarding rainfall measurements, TMPA products exhibit an overall underestimation. Seasonally, 3B42V7 underestimates rainfall in monsoon and post-monsoon, and overestimates in winter and pre-monsoon. 3B42RT, on the other hand, underestimates rainfall in all seasons. A greater MBE and RMSE are found with both TMPA rain measurements in monsoon and post-monsoon seasons. Overall, a weak correlation and high MBE between the TMPA (3B42RT, 3B42V7) and reference gauge hourly rain rates are found at a three-hourly time scale (CC = 0.41, 0.38, MBE = −0.92, −0.70). The correlation is significant at decadal (CC = 0.79, 0.77) and monthly (CC = 0.91, 0.90) timescales. Furthermore, diurnal rainfall analysis indicates low credibility of 3B42RT to detect flash flooding. Within the parameters of this study, we conclude that the TMPA products are not the best choice at a three-hourly time scale in hilly/semi-hilly areas of Pakistan. However, both products can be used at daily, yet more reliably above daily, time scales, with 3B42V7 preferable due to its consistency. View Full-Text
Keywords: TRMM; TMPA; 3B42; validation; rainfall; telemetric rain gauge; Lai Nullah; Pakistan TRMM; TMPA; 3B42; validation; rainfall; telemetric rain gauge; Lai Nullah; Pakistan

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Rehman, A.U.; Chishtie, F.; Qazi, W.A.; Ghuffar, S.; Shahid, I.; Fatima, K. Evaluation of Three-Hourly TMPA Rainfall Products Using Telemetric Rain Gauge Observations at Lai Nullah Basin in Islamabad, Pakistan. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 2040.

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