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Evaluation of GSMaP Precipitation Estimates over the Contiguous United States

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  • 1 Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
  • | 2 Hydrological Sciences Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 3 Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, and Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 4 Earth Observation Research Center, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Ibaraki, Japan
  • | 5 Department of Information and Communications Technology, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan
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Abstract

Precipitation estimates from the Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP) project are evaluated over the contiguous United States (CONUS) for the period of 2005–06. GSMaP combines precipitation retrievals from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite and other polar-orbiting satellites, and interpolates them with cloud motion vectors derived from infrared images from geostationary satellites, to produce a high-resolution dataset. Four other satellite-based datasets are also evaluated concurrently with GSMaP, to provide a better perspective. The new Climate Prediction Center (CPC) unified gauge analysis is used as the reference data. The evaluation shows that GSMaP does well in capturing the spatial patterns of precipitation, especially for summer, and that it has better estimation of precipitation amount over the eastern than over the western CONUS. Meanwhile, GSMaP shares many of the challenges common to other satellite-based products, including that it underestimates in winter and overestimates in summer. In winter, GSMaP has on average one-half less precipitation over the western region and one-third less over the eastern region, whereas in summer it has about three-quarters and one-quarter more estimated precipitation over the two respective regions, respectively. Most of the summer overestimates (winter underestimates) are from an excessive (insufficient) number of strong events (>20 mm day−1). Overall, GSMaP’s performance is comparable to other satellite-based products, with slightly better probability of detection during summer, and the different satellite-based estimates as a group have better agreement among themselves during summer than during winter.

Corresponding author address: Yudong Tian, GEST Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Mail Code 614.3, Greenbelt, MD 20771. Email: yudong.tian@nasa.gov

Abstract

Precipitation estimates from the Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP) project are evaluated over the contiguous United States (CONUS) for the period of 2005–06. GSMaP combines precipitation retrievals from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite and other polar-orbiting satellites, and interpolates them with cloud motion vectors derived from infrared images from geostationary satellites, to produce a high-resolution dataset. Four other satellite-based datasets are also evaluated concurrently with GSMaP, to provide a better perspective. The new Climate Prediction Center (CPC) unified gauge analysis is used as the reference data. The evaluation shows that GSMaP does well in capturing the spatial patterns of precipitation, especially for summer, and that it has better estimation of precipitation amount over the eastern than over the western CONUS. Meanwhile, GSMaP shares many of the challenges common to other satellite-based products, including that it underestimates in winter and overestimates in summer. In winter, GSMaP has on average one-half less precipitation over the western region and one-third less over the eastern region, whereas in summer it has about three-quarters and one-quarter more estimated precipitation over the two respective regions, respectively. Most of the summer overestimates (winter underestimates) are from an excessive (insufficient) number of strong events (>20 mm day−1). Overall, GSMaP’s performance is comparable to other satellite-based products, with slightly better probability of detection during summer, and the different satellite-based estimates as a group have better agreement among themselves during summer than during winter.

Corresponding author address: Yudong Tian, GEST Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Mail Code 614.3, Greenbelt, MD 20771. Email: yudong.tian@nasa.gov

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