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Open AccessArticle

Evaluation of Satellite-Based Rainfall Estimates in the Lower Mekong River Basin (Southeast Asia)

Department of Engineering Systems and Environment, 151 Engineers Way PO Box 400747, Olsson Hall Room 101E, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA
Hydrological Sciences Lab, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(22), 2709;
Received: 7 October 2019 / Revised: 8 November 2019 / Accepted: 15 November 2019 / Published: 19 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing and Modeling of the Terrestrial Water Cycle)
Satellite-based precipitation is an essential tool for regional water resource applications that requires frequent observations of meteorological forcing, particularly in areas that have sparse rain gauge networks. To fully realize the utility of remotely sensed precipitation products in watershed modeling and decision-making, a thorough evaluation of the accuracy of satellite-based rainfall and regional gauge network estimates is needed. In this study, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multi-Satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) 3B42 v.7 and Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station data (CHIRPS) daily rainfall estimates were compared with daily rain gauge observations from 2000 to 2014 in the Lower Mekong River Basin (LMRB) in Southeast Asia. Monthly, seasonal, and annual comparisons were performed, which included the calculations of correlation coefficient, coefficient of determination, bias, root mean square error (RMSE), and mean absolute error (MAE). Our validation test showed TMPA to correctly detect precipitation or no-precipitation 64.9% of all days and CHIRPS 66.8% of all days, compared to daily in-situ rainfall measurements. The accuracy of the satellite-based products varied greatly between the wet and dry seasons. Both TMPA and CHIRPS showed higher correlation with in-situ data during the wet season (June–September) as compared to the dry season (November–January). Additionally, both performed better on a monthly than an annual time-scale when compared to in-situ data. The satellite-based products showed wet biases during months that received higher cumulative precipitation. Based on a spatial correlation analysis, the average r-value of CHIRPS was much higher than TMPA across the basin. CHIRPS correlated better than TMPA at lower elevations and for monthly rainfall accumulation less than 500 mm. While both satellite-based products performed well, as compared to rain gauge measurements, the present research shows that CHIRPS might be better at representing precipitation over the LMRB than TMPA. View Full-Text
Keywords: remote sensing precipitation; satellite validation; Lower Mekong River Basin; water resource management remote sensing precipitation; satellite validation; Lower Mekong River Basin; water resource management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dandridge, C.; Lakshmi, V.; Bolten, J.; Srinivasan, R. Evaluation of Satellite-Based Rainfall Estimates in the Lower Mekong River Basin (Southeast Asia). Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 2709.

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