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Global Precipitation Estimates Based on a Technique for Combining Satellite-Based Estimates, Rain Gauge Analysis, and NWP Model Precipitation Information

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  • 1 Science Systems and Applications, Inc. and Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/GFSC, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 2 Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/GFSC, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 3 Deutscher Wetterdienst, GPCC, 0ffenbach a.M., Germany
  • | 4 Science Systems and Applications, Inc. and Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/GFSC, Greenbelt, Maryland
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Abstract

The “satellite-gauge-model” (SGM) technique is described for combining precipitation estimates from microwave satellite data, infrared satellite data, rain gauge analyses, and numerical weather prediction models into improved estimates of global precipitation. Throughout, monthly estimates on a 2.5° × 2.5° lat-long grid are employed. First, a multisatellite product is developed using a combination of low-orbit microwave and geosynchronous-orbit infrared data in the latitude range 40°N–40–S (the adjusted geosynchronous precipitation index) and low-orbit microwave data alone at higher latitudes. Then the rain gauge analysis is brought in, weighting each field by its inverse relative error variance to produce a nearly global, observationally based precipitation estimate. To produce a complete global estimate, the numerical model results are used to fill data voids in the combined satellite-gauge estimate. Our sequential approach to combining estimates allows a user to select the multisatellite estimate, the satellite-gauge estimate, or the full SGM estimate (observationally based estimates plus the model information). The primary limitation in the method is imperfections in the estimation of relative error for the individual fields.

The SGM results for one year of data (July 1987 to June 1988) show important differences from the individual estimates, including model estimates as well as climatological estimates. In general, the SGM results are drier in the subtropics than the model and climatological results, reflecting the relatively dry microwave estimates that dominate the SGM in oceanic regions

Abstract

The “satellite-gauge-model” (SGM) technique is described for combining precipitation estimates from microwave satellite data, infrared satellite data, rain gauge analyses, and numerical weather prediction models into improved estimates of global precipitation. Throughout, monthly estimates on a 2.5° × 2.5° lat-long grid are employed. First, a multisatellite product is developed using a combination of low-orbit microwave and geosynchronous-orbit infrared data in the latitude range 40°N–40–S (the adjusted geosynchronous precipitation index) and low-orbit microwave data alone at higher latitudes. Then the rain gauge analysis is brought in, weighting each field by its inverse relative error variance to produce a nearly global, observationally based precipitation estimate. To produce a complete global estimate, the numerical model results are used to fill data voids in the combined satellite-gauge estimate. Our sequential approach to combining estimates allows a user to select the multisatellite estimate, the satellite-gauge estimate, or the full SGM estimate (observationally based estimates plus the model information). The primary limitation in the method is imperfections in the estimation of relative error for the individual fields.

The SGM results for one year of data (July 1987 to June 1988) show important differences from the individual estimates, including model estimates as well as climatological estimates. In general, the SGM results are drier in the subtropics than the model and climatological results, reflecting the relatively dry microwave estimates that dominate the SGM in oceanic regions

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