Accurate and timely precipitation estimates are critical for monitoring and forecasting natural disasters such as floods. Despite having high-resolution satellite information, precipitation estimation from remotely sensed data still suffers from methodological limitations. State-of-the-art deep learning algorithms, renowned for their skill in learning accurate patterns within large and complex datasets, appear well suited to the task of precipitation estimation, given the ample amount of high-resolution satellite data. In this study, the effectiveness of applying convolutional neural networks (CNNs) together with the infrared (IR) and water vapor (WV) channels from geostationary satellites for estimating precipitation rate is explored. The proposed model performances are evaluated during summer 2012 and 2013 over central CONUS at the spatial resolution of 0.08° and at an hourly time scale. Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information Using Artificial Neural Networks (PERSIANN)–Cloud Classification System (CCS), which is an operational satellite-based product, and PERSIANN–Stacked Denoising Autoencoder (PERSIANN-SDAE) are employed as baseline models. Results demonstrate that the proposed model (PERSIANN-CNN) provides more accurate rainfall estimates compared to the baseline models at various temporal and spatial scales. Specifically, PERSIANN-CNN outperforms PERSIANN-CCS (and PERSIANN-SDAE) by 54% (and 23%) in the critical success index (CSI), demonstrating the detection skills of the model. Furthermore, the root-mean-square error (RMSE) of the rainfall estimates with respect to the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Stage IV gauge–radar data, for PERSIANN-CNN was lower than that of PERSIANN-CCS (PERSIANN-SDAE) by 37% (14%), showing the estimation accuracy of the proposed model.

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