Satellite-derived precipitation can be a potential source of forcing data for assessing water availability and managing water supply in mountainous regions of East Asia. This study investigates the hydrological utility of satellite-derived precipitation and uncertainties attributed to error propagation of satellite products in hydrological modeling. To this end, four satellite precipitation products (tropical rainfall measuring mission (TRMM) multi-satellite precipitation analysis (TMPA) version 6 (TMPAv6) and version 7 (TMPAv7), the global satellite mapping of precipitation (GSMaP), and the climate prediction center (CPC) morphing technique (CMORPH)) were integrated into a physically-based hydrologic model for the mountainous region of South Korea. The satellite precipitation products displayed different levels of accuracy when compared to the intra- and inter-annual variations of ground-gauged precipitation. As compared to the GSMaP and CMORPH products, superior performances were seen when the TMPA products were used within streamflow simulations. Significant dry (negative) biases in the GSMaP and CMORPH products led to large underestimates of streamflow during wet-summer seasons. Although the TMPA products displayed a good level of performance for hydrologic modeling, there were some over/underestimates of precipitation by satellites during the winter season that were induced by snow accumulation and snowmelt processes. These differences resulted in streamflow simulation uncertainties during the winter and spring seasons. This study highlights the crucial need to understand hydrological uncertainties from satellite-derived precipitation for improved water resource management and planning in mountainous basins. Furthermore, it is suggested that a reliable snowfall detection algorithm is necessary for the new global precipitation measurement (GPM) mission.
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