The point-to-area problem strongly complicates the validation of satellite-based precipitation estimates, using surface-based point measurements. We simulate the limited spatial representation of light-to-moderate oceanic precipitation rates along ship tracks with respect to areal passive microwave satellite estimates using data from a subtropical island-based radar. The radar data serves to estimate the discrepancy between point-like and areal precipitation measurements. From the spatial discrepancy, two statistical adjustments are derived so that along-track precipitation ship data better represent areal precipitation estimates from satellite sensors. The first statistical adjustment uses the average duration of a precipitation event as seen along a ship track, and the second adjustment uses the median-normalized along-track precipitation rate. Both statistical adjustments combined reduce the root mean squared error by 0.24 mm h
(55%) compared to the unadjusted average track of 60 radar pixels in length corresponding to a typical ship speed of 24–34 km h
depending on track orientation. Beyond along-track averaging, the statistical adjustments represent an important step towards a more accurate validation of precipitation derived from passive microwave satellite sensors using point-like along-track surface precipitation reference data.
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