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Evaluation of Satellite Rainfall Estimates over the Chinese Mainland

College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
National Meteorological Information Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China
Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(11), 11649-11672;
Received: 14 July 2014 / Revised: 31 October 2014 / Accepted: 13 November 2014 / Published: 24 November 2014
PDF [1989 KB, uploaded 24 November 2014]


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: satellite-based precipitation estimates; evaluation; Chinese Mainland satellite-based precipitation estimates; evaluation; Chinese Mainland

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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Qin, Y.; Chen, Z.; Shen, Y.; Zhang, S.; Shi, R. Evaluation of Satellite Rainfall Estimates over the Chinese Mainland. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 11649-11672.

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