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Clement Guilloteau, Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Pierre Kirstetter, Jackson Tan, and George J. Huffman

Abstract

As more global satellite-derived precipitation products become available, it is imperative to evaluate them more carefully for providing guidance as to how well precipitation space–time features are captured for use in hydrologic modeling, climate studies, and other applications. Here we propose a space–time Fourier spectral analysis and define a suite of metrics that evaluate the spatial organization of storm systems, the propagation speed and direction of precipitation features, and the space–time scales at which a satellite product reproduces the variability of a reference “ground-truth” product (“effective resolution”). We demonstrate how the methodology relates to our physical intuition using the case study of a storm system with rich space–time structure. We then evaluate five high-resolution multisatellite products (CMORPH, GSMaP, IMERG-Early, IMERG-Final, and PERSIANN-CCS) over a period of 2 years over the southeastern United States. All five satellite products show generally consistent space–time power spectral density when compared to a reference ground gauge–radar dataset (GV-MRMS), revealing agreement in terms of average morphology and dynamics of precipitation systems. However, a deficit of spectral power at wavelengths shorter than 200 km and periods shorter than 4 h reveals that all satellite products are excessively “smooth.” The products also show low levels of spectral coherence with the gauge–radar reference at these fine scales, revealing discrepancies in capturing the location and timing of precipitation features. From the space–time spectral coherence, the IMERG-Final product shows superior ability in resolving the space–time dynamics of precipitation down to 200-km and 4-h scales compared to the other products.

Open access
Andrea Camplani, Daniele Casella, Paolo Sanò, and Giulia Panegrossi

Abstract

This paper describes a new Passive Microwave Empirical Cold Surface Classification Algorithm (PESCA) developed for snow-cover detection and characterization by using passive microwave satellite measurements. The main goal of PESCA is to support the retrieval of falling snow, since several studies have highlighted the influence of snow-cover radiative properties on the falling-snow passive microwave signature. The developed method is based on the exploitation of the lower-frequency channels (<90 GHz), common to most microwave radiometers. The method applied to the conically scanning Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Microwave Imager (GMI) and the cross-track-scanning Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) is described in this paper. PESCA is based on a decision tree developed using an empirical method and verified using the AutoSnow product built from satellite measurements. The algorithm performance appears to be robust both for sensors in dry conditions (total precipitable water < 10 mm) and for mean surface elevation < 2500 m, independent of the cloud cover. The algorithm shows very good performance for cold temperatures (2-m temperature below 270 K) with a rapid decrease of the detection capabilities between 270 and 280 K, where 280 K is assumed as the maximum temperature limit for PESCA (overall detection statistics: probability of detection is 0.98 for ATMS and 0.92 for GMI, false alarm ratio is 0.01 for ATMS and 0.08 for GMI, and Heidke skill score is 0.72 for ATMS and 0.69 for GMI). Some inconsistencies found between the snow categories identified with the two radiometers are related to their different viewing geometries, spatial resolution, and temporal sampling. The spectral signatures of the different snow classes also appear to be different at high frequency (>90 GHz), indicating potential impact for snowfall retrieval. This method can be applied to other conically scanning and cross-track-scanning radiometers, including the future operational EUMETSAT Polar System Second Generation (EPS-SG) mission microwave radiometers.

Open access
Kamil Mroz, Mario Montopoli, Alessandro Battaglia, Giulia Panegrossi, Pierre Kirstetter, and Luca Baldini

Abstract

Surface snowfall rate estimates from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission’s Core Observatory sensors and the CloudSat radar are compared to those from the Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) radar composite product over the continental United States during the period from November 2014 to September 2020. The analysis includes the Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) retrieval and its single-frequency counterparts, the GPM Combined Radar Radiometer Algorithm (CORRA), the CloudSat Snow Profile product (2C-SNOW-PROFILE), and two passive microwave retrievals, i.e., the Goddard Profiling algorithm (GPROF) and the Snow Retrieval Algorithm for GMI (SLALOM). The 2C-SNOW retrieval has the highest Heidke skill score (HSS) for detecting snowfall among the products analyzed. SLALOM ranks second; it outperforms GPROF and the other GPM algorithms, all detecting only 30% of the snow events. Since SLALOM is trained with 2C-SNOW, it suggests that the optimal use of the information content in the GMI observations critically depends on the precipitation training dataset. All the retrievals underestimate snowfall rates by a factor of 2 compared to MRMS. Large discrepancies (RMSE of 0.7–1.5 mm h−1) between spaceborne and ground-based snowfall rate estimates are attributed to the complexity of the ice scattering properties and to the limitations of the remote sensing systems: the DPR instrument has low sensitivity, while the radiometric measurements are affected by the confounding effects of the background surface emissivity and of the emission of supercooled liquid droplet layers.

Open access
Md. Abul Ehsan Bhuiyan, Efthymios I. Nikolopoulos, and Emmanouil N. Anagnostou

Abstract

This study evaluates a machine learning–based precipitation ensemble technique (MLPET) over three mountainous tropical regions. The technique, based on quantile regression forests, integrates global satellite precipitation datasets from CMORPH, PERSIANN, GSMaP (V6), and 3B42 (V7) and an atmospheric reanalysis precipitation product (EI_GPCC) with daily soil moisture, specific humidity, and terrain elevation datasets. The complex terrain study areas include the Peruvian and Colombian Andes in South America and the Blue Nile in East Africa. Evaluation is performed at a daily time scale and 0.25° spatial resolution based on 13 years (2000–12) of reference rainfall data derived from dense in situ rain gauge networks. The technique is evaluated using K-fold, separately in each region, and leave-one-region-out validation experiments. Comparison of MLPET with the individual satellite and reanalysis precipitation datasets used for the blending and the recent Multi-Source Weighted-Ensemble Precipitation (MSWEP) global precipitation product exhibited improved systematic and random error statistics for all regions. In addition, it is shown that observations are encapsulated well within the ensemble envelope generated by the blending technique.

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Xinxuan Zhang and Emmanouil N. Anagnostou

Abstract

The study evaluated a numerical weather model (WRF)-based satellite precipitation adjustment technique with 81 heavy precipitation events that occurred in three tropical mountainous regions (Colombia, Peru, and Taiwan). The technique was applied on two widely used near-real-time global satellite precipitation products—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center morphing technique (CMORPH) and the Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation project (GSMaP)—for each precipitation event. The WRF-adjusted satellite products along with the near-real-time and gauge-adjusted satellite products as well as the WRF simulation were evaluated by independent gauge networks at daily scale and event total scale. Results show that the near-real-time precipitation products exhibited severe underestimation relative to the gauge observations over the three tropical mountainous regions. The underestimation tended to be larger for higher rainfall accumulations. The WRF-based satellite adjustment provided considerable improvements to the near-real-time CMORPH and GSMaP products. Moreover, error metrics show that WRF-adjusted satellite products outperformed the gauge-adjusted counterparts for most of the events. The effectiveness of WRF-based satellite adjustment varied with events of different physical processes. Thus, the technique applied on satellite precipitation estimates of these events may exhibit inconsistencies in the bias correction.

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Zeinab Takbiri, Ardeshir Ebtehaj, Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Pierre-Emmanuel Kirstetter, and F. Joseph Turk

Abstract

Monitoring changes of precipitation phase from space is important for understanding the mass balance of Earth’s cryosphere in a changing climate. This paper examines a Bayesian nearest neighbor approach for prognostic detection of precipitation and its phase using passive microwave observations from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite. The method uses the weighted Euclidean distance metric to search through an a priori database populated with coincident GPM radiometer and radar observations as well as ancillary snow-cover data. The algorithm performance is evaluated using data from GPM official precipitation products, ground-based radars, and high-fidelity simulations from the Weather Research and Forecasting Model. Using the presented approach, we demonstrate that the hit probability of terrestrial precipitation detection can reach to 0.80, while the probability of false alarm remains below 0.11. The algorithm demonstrates higher skill in detecting snowfall than rainfall, on average by 10%. In particular, the probability of precipitation detection and its solid phase increases by 11% and 8%, over dry snow cover, when compared to other surface types. The main reason is found to be related to the ability of the algorithm in capturing the signal of increased liquid water content in snowy clouds over radiometrically cold snow-covered surfaces.

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Jiaying Zhang, Liao-Fan Lin, and Rafael L. Bras

Abstract

Hydrological applications rely on the availability and quality of precipitation products, especially model- and satellite-based products for use in areas without ground measurements. It is known that the quality of model- and satellite-based precipitation products is complementary: model-based products exhibit high quality during cold seasons while satellite-based products are better during warm seasons. To explore the complementary behavior of the quality of the precipitation products, this study uses 2-m air temperature as auxiliary information to evaluate high-resolution (0.1°/hourly) precipitation estimates from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and from the version 5 Integrated Multisatellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) algorithm (i.e., early and final runs). The products are evaluated relative to the reference NCEP Stage IV precipitation estimates over the central United States during August 2015–July 2017. Results show that the IMERG final-run estimates are nearly unbiased, while the IMERG early-run and the WRF estimates are positively biased. The WRF estimates exhibit high correlations with the reference data when the temperature falls below 280 K. The IMERG estimates, both early and final runs, do so when the temperature exceeds 280 K. Moreover, the complementary behavior of the WRF and the IMERG products conditioned on air temperature does not vary with either season or location.

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Daniel Watters, Alessandro Battaglia, Kamil Mroz, and Frédéric Tridon

Abstract

Instantaneous surface rain rate estimates from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission’s Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) and combined DPR and multifrequency microwave imager (CMB) version-5 products are compared to those from the Met Office Radarnet 4 system’s Great Britain and Ireland (GBI) radar composite product. The spaceborne and ground-based rainfall products are collocated spatially and temporally and compared at 5- and 25-km resolutions over GBI during a 3-yr period (from May 2014 to April 2017). The comparison results are evaluated as a function of both the intensity and variability of precipitation within the DPR field of view and are stratified spatially and seasonally. CMB and DPR products underestimate rain rates with respect to the Radarnet product by 21% and 31%, respectively, when considering 25-km resolution data taken within 75 km of a ground-based radar. Large variability in the discrepancies between spaceborne and ground-based rain rate estimates is the result of limitations of both systems and random errors in the collocation of their measurements. The Radarnet retrieval is affected by issues with measuring the vertical extent of precipitation at far ranges, while the GPM system struggles in properly quantifying orographic precipitation. Part of the underestimation by the GPM products appears to be a consequence of an erroneous DPR clutter identification in the presence of low freezing levels. Both products are susceptible to seasonal variations in performance and decreases in precision with increased levels of heterogeneity within the instruments’ field of view.

Open access
M. Petracca, L. P. D’Adderio, F. Porcù, G. Vulpiani, S. Sebastianelli, and S. Puca

Abstract

The Ka–Ku Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) and the Microwave Imager on board the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission core satellite have been collecting data for more than 3 years, providing precipitation products over the globe, including oceans and remote areas where ground-based precipitation measurements are not available. The main objective of this work is to validate the GPM-DPR products over a key climatic region with complex orography such as the Italian territory. The performances of the DPR precipitation rate products are evaluated over an 18-month period (July 2015–December 2016) using both radar and rain gauge data. The ground reference network is composed of 22 weather radars and more than 3000 rain gauges. DPR dual-frequency products generally show better performance with respect to the single-frequency (i.e., Ka- or Ku-band only) products, especially when ground radar data are taken as reference. A sensitivity analysis with respect to season and rainfall intensity is also carried out. It was found that the normal scan (NS) product outperforms the high-sensitivity scan (HS) and matched scan (MS) during the summer season. A deeper analysis is carried out to investigate the larger discrepancies between the DPR-NS product and ground reference data. The most relevant improvement of the DPR products’ performance was found by limiting the comparison to the upscaled radar data with a higher quality index. The resulting scores in comparison with ground radars are mean error (ME) = −0.44 mm h−1, RMSE = 3.57 mm h−1, and fractional standard error (FSE) = 142%, with the POD = 65% and FAR = 1% for rainfall above 0.5 mm h−1.

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Veljko Petković, Christian D. Kummerow, David L. Randel, Jeffrey R. Pierce, and John K. Kodros

Abstract

Prominent achievements made in addressing global precipitation using satellite passive microwave retrievals are often overshadowed by their performance at finer spatial and temporal scales, where large variability in cloud morphology poses an obstacle for accurate precipitation measurements. This is especially true over land, with precipitation estimates being based on an observed mean relationship between high-frequency (e.g., 89 GHz) brightness temperature depression (i.e., the ice-scattering signature) and surface precipitation rate. This indirect relationship between the observed (brightness temperatures) and state (precipitation) vectors often leads to inaccurate estimates, with more pronounced biases (e.g., −30% over the United States) observed during extreme events. This study seeks to mitigate these errors by employing previously established relationships between cloud structures and large-scale environments such as CAPE, wind shear, humidity distribution, and aerosol concentrations to form a stronger relationship between precipitation and the scattering signal. The GPM passive microwave operational precipitation retrieval (GPROF) for the GMI sensor is modified to offer additional information on atmospheric conditions to its Bayesian-based algorithm. The modified algorithm is allowed to use the large-scale environment to filter out a priori states that do not match the general synoptic condition relevant to the observation and thus reduces the difference between the assumed and observed variability in the ice-to-rain ratio. Using the ground Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) network over the United States, the results demonstrate outstanding potential in improving the accuracy of heavy precipitation over land. It is found that individual synoptic parameters can remove 20%–30% of existing bias and up to 50% when combined, while preserving the overall performance of the algorithm.

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