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Evaluation and comparison of satellite precipitation estimates with reference to a local area in the Mediterranean Sea

December 9, 2013

Precipitation is one of the major variables for many applications and disciplines related to water resources and the geophysical Earth system. Satellite retrieval systems, rain-gauge networks, and radar systems are complementary to each other in terms of their coverage and capability of monitoring precipitation. Satellite-rainfall estimate systems produce data with global coverage that can provide information in areas for which data from other sources are unavailable. Without referring to ground measurements, satellite-based estimates can be biased and, although some gauge-adjusted satellite-precipitation products have been already developed, an effective way of integrating multi-sources of precipitation information is still a challenge.

In this study, a specific area, the Sicilia Island (Italy), has been selected for the evaluation of satellite-precipitation products based on rain-gauge data. This island is located in the Mediterranean Sea, with a particular climatology and morphology, which can be considered an interesting test site for satellite-precipitation products in the European mid-latitude area. Four satellite products (CMORPH, PERSIANN, PERSIANN-CCS, and TMPA-RT) and two GPCP-adjusted products (TMPA and PERSIANN Adjusted) have been selected. Evaluation and comparison of selected products is performed with reference to data provided by the rain-gauge network of the Island Sicilia and by using statistical and graphical tools. Particular attention is paid to bias issues shown both by only-satellite and adjusted products. In order to investigate the current and potential possibilities of improving estimates by means of adjustment procedures using GPCC ground precipitation, the data have been retrieved separately and compared directly with the reference rain-gauge network data set of the study area.

Results show that bias is still considerable for all satellite products, then some considerations about larger area climatology, PMW-retrieval algorithms, and GPCC data are discussed to address this issue, along with the spatial and seasonal characterization of results.

Lo Conti F, Hsu K-L, Valerio Noto L, Sorooshian S, in press. Evaluation and comparison of satellite precipitation estimates with reference to a local area in the Mediterranean Sea, Atmospheric Research, 138, 189-204, 2014, doi:10.1016/j.atmosres.2013.11.011. Article.

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