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Evaluation of the High-Resolution CMORPH Satellite Rainfall Product Using Dense Rain Gauge Observations and Radar-Based Estimates

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  • 1 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana
  • | 2 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, and African Climate Policy Center, UNECA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • | 3 Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland
  • | 4 NOAA Climate Prediction Center, Camp Springs, Maryland
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Abstract

This study focuses on the evaluation of the NOAA–NCEP Climate Prediction Center (CPC) morphing technique (CMORPH) satellite-based rainfall product at fine space–time resolutions (1 h and 8 km). The evaluation was conducted during a 28-month period from 2004 to 2006 using a high-quality experimental rain gauge network in southern Louisiana, United States. The dense arrangement of rain gauges allowed for multiple gauges to be located within a single CMORPH pixel and provided a relatively reliable approximation of pixel-average surface rainfall. The results suggest that the CMORPH product has high detection skills: the probability of successful detection is ~80% for surface rain rates >2 mm h−1 and probability of false detection <3%. However, significant and alarming missed-rain and false-rain volumes of 21% and 22%, respectively, were reported. The CMORPH product has a negligible bias when assessed for the entire study period. On an event scale it has significant biases that exceed 100%. The fine-resolution CMORPH estimates have high levels of random errors; however, these errors get reduced rapidly when the estimates are aggregated in time or space. To provide insight into future improvements, the study examines the effect of temporal availability of passive microwave rainfall estimates on the product accuracy. The study also investigates the implications of using a radar-based rainfall product as an evaluation surface reference dataset instead of gauge observations. The findings reported in this study guide future enhancements of rainfall products and increase their informed usage in a variety of research and operational applications.

Corresponding author address: Emad Habib, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, PO Box 42291, Lafayette, LA 70504. E-mail: habib@louisiana.edu

Abstract

This study focuses on the evaluation of the NOAA–NCEP Climate Prediction Center (CPC) morphing technique (CMORPH) satellite-based rainfall product at fine space–time resolutions (1 h and 8 km). The evaluation was conducted during a 28-month period from 2004 to 2006 using a high-quality experimental rain gauge network in southern Louisiana, United States. The dense arrangement of rain gauges allowed for multiple gauges to be located within a single CMORPH pixel and provided a relatively reliable approximation of pixel-average surface rainfall. The results suggest that the CMORPH product has high detection skills: the probability of successful detection is ~80% for surface rain rates >2 mm h−1 and probability of false detection <3%. However, significant and alarming missed-rain and false-rain volumes of 21% and 22%, respectively, were reported. The CMORPH product has a negligible bias when assessed for the entire study period. On an event scale it has significant biases that exceed 100%. The fine-resolution CMORPH estimates have high levels of random errors; however, these errors get reduced rapidly when the estimates are aggregated in time or space. To provide insight into future improvements, the study examines the effect of temporal availability of passive microwave rainfall estimates on the product accuracy. The study also investigates the implications of using a radar-based rainfall product as an evaluation surface reference dataset instead of gauge observations. The findings reported in this study guide future enhancements of rainfall products and increase their informed usage in a variety of research and operational applications.

Corresponding author address: Emad Habib, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, PO Box 42291, Lafayette, LA 70504. E-mail: habib@louisiana.edu
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