Precipitation is a crucial driver for many environmental processes and weather radars are capable of providing precipitation information with high spatial and temporal resolution. However, radar-based quantitative precipitation estimates (QPE) are also subject to various potential uncertainties. This study explored the development, uncertainties and potentials of the hourly operational German radar-based and gauge-adjusted QPE called RADOLAN and its reanalyzed radar climatology dataset named RADKLIM in comparison to ground-truth rain gauge data. The precipitation datasets were statistically analyzed across various time scales ranging from annual and seasonal aggregations to hourly rainfall intensities in regard to their capability to map long-term precipitation distribution, to detect low intensity rainfall and to capture heavy rainfall. Moreover, the impacts of season, orography and distance from the radar on long-term precipitation sums were examined in order to evaluate dataset performance and to describe inherent biases. Results revealed that both radar products tend to underestimate total precipitation sums and particularly high intensity rainfall. However, our analyses also showed significant improvements throughout the RADOLAN time series as well as major advances through the climatologic reanalysis regarding the correction of typical radar artefacts, orographic and winter precipitation as well as range-dependent attenuation.
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