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Evaluation of TRMM Rain Estimates Using Ground Measurements over Central Florida

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  • 1 Science System and Applications, Inc., Lanham, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
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Abstract

This study evaluates space-based rain estimates from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite using ground-based measurements from the radar (GR) and tipping-bucket rain gauges (TG) over the TRMM Ground Validation (GV) site at Melbourne, Florida. The satellite rain products are derived from the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI), precipitation radar (PR), and combined (COM) rain algorithms using observations from both instruments. The TRMM satellite and GV rain products are spatiotemporally matched and are intercompared at multiple time scales over the 12-yr period from 1998 to 2009. On monthly and yearly scales, the TG agree excellently with the GR because the GR rain rates are generated using the TG data as a constraint on a monthly basis. However, large disagreements exist between the GR and TG at shorter time scales because of their significantly different spatial and temporal sampling modes. The yearly biases relative to the GR for the PR and TMI are generally negative, with a few exceptions. The COM bias fluctuates from year to year over the 12-yr period. The PR, TMI, and COM are in good overall agreement with the GR in the lower range of rain rates, but the agreement is notably worse at higher rain rates. The diurnal cycle of rainfall is captured well by all products, but the peak satellite-derived rainfall (PR, TMI, and COM) lags the peak from the ground measurements (GR and TG) by ~1 h.

Corresponding author address: Jianxin Wang, NASA/GSFC, Code 612, Greenbelt, MD 20771. E-mail: jianxin.wang@nasa.gov

Abstract

This study evaluates space-based rain estimates from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite using ground-based measurements from the radar (GR) and tipping-bucket rain gauges (TG) over the TRMM Ground Validation (GV) site at Melbourne, Florida. The satellite rain products are derived from the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI), precipitation radar (PR), and combined (COM) rain algorithms using observations from both instruments. The TRMM satellite and GV rain products are spatiotemporally matched and are intercompared at multiple time scales over the 12-yr period from 1998 to 2009. On monthly and yearly scales, the TG agree excellently with the GR because the GR rain rates are generated using the TG data as a constraint on a monthly basis. However, large disagreements exist between the GR and TG at shorter time scales because of their significantly different spatial and temporal sampling modes. The yearly biases relative to the GR for the PR and TMI are generally negative, with a few exceptions. The COM bias fluctuates from year to year over the 12-yr period. The PR, TMI, and COM are in good overall agreement with the GR in the lower range of rain rates, but the agreement is notably worse at higher rain rates. The diurnal cycle of rainfall is captured well by all products, but the peak satellite-derived rainfall (PR, TMI, and COM) lags the peak from the ground measurements (GR and TG) by ~1 h.

Corresponding author address: Jianxin Wang, NASA/GSFC, Code 612, Greenbelt, MD 20771. E-mail: jianxin.wang@nasa.gov
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