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Potential Utility of the Real-Time TMPA-RT Precipitation Estimates in Streamflow Prediction

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  • 1 Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  • | 2 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  • | 3 Science Systems and Applications, Inc., and Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 4 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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Abstract

The potential utility of the real-time Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis real-time product 3B42RT (TMPA-RT) data for streamflow prediction, both through direct comparisons of TMPA-RT estimates with a gridded gauge product and through evaluation of streamflow simulations over four tributaries of La Plata basin (LPB) in South America using the two precipitation products, is investigated. Assessments indicate that the relative accuracy and the hydrologic performance of TMPA-RT-based streamflow simulations generally improved after February 2005. The improvements in TMPA-RT since 2005 are closely related to upgrades in the TMPA-RT algorithm in early February 2005, which include use of additional microwave sensors [Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) and Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-B (AMSU-B)] and implementation of different calibration schemes. This study suggests considerable potential for hydrologic prediction using purely satellite-derived precipitation estimates (no adjustments by in situ gauges) in parts of the globe where in situ observations are sparse.

Corresponding author address: Fengge Su, Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China. E-mail: fgsu@itpcas.ac.cn

Abstract

The potential utility of the real-time Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis real-time product 3B42RT (TMPA-RT) data for streamflow prediction, both through direct comparisons of TMPA-RT estimates with a gridded gauge product and through evaluation of streamflow simulations over four tributaries of La Plata basin (LPB) in South America using the two precipitation products, is investigated. Assessments indicate that the relative accuracy and the hydrologic performance of TMPA-RT-based streamflow simulations generally improved after February 2005. The improvements in TMPA-RT since 2005 are closely related to upgrades in the TMPA-RT algorithm in early February 2005, which include use of additional microwave sensors [Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) and Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-B (AMSU-B)] and implementation of different calibration schemes. This study suggests considerable potential for hydrologic prediction using purely satellite-derived precipitation estimates (no adjustments by in situ gauges) in parts of the globe where in situ observations are sparse.

Corresponding author address: Fengge Su, Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China. E-mail: fgsu@itpcas.ac.cn
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