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  • Author or Editor: Wassila M. Thiaw x
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Nicholas S. Novella
and
Wassila M. Thiaw

Abstract

This paper describes a new gridded, daily 29-yr precipitation estimation dataset centered over Africa at 0.1° spatial resolution. Called the African Rainfall Climatology, version 2 (ARC2), it is a revision of the first version of the ARC. Consistent with the operational Rainfall Estimation, version 2, algorithm (RFE2), ARC2 uses inputs from two sources: 1) 3-hourly geostationary infrared (IR) data centered over Africa from the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and 2) quality-controlled Global Telecommunication System (GTS) gauge observations reporting 24-h rainfall accumulations over Africa. The main difference with ARC1 resides in the recalibration of all Meteosat First Generation (MFG) IR data (1983–2005). Results show that ARC2 is a major improvement over ARC1. It is consistent with other long-term datasets, such as the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) and Climate Prediction Center (CPC) Merged Analysis of Precipitation (CMAP), with correlation coefficients of 0.86 over a 27-yr period. However, a marginal summer dry bias that occurs over West and East Africa is examined. Daily validation with independent gauge data shows RMSEs of 11.3, 13.4, and 14, respectively, for ARC2, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis 3B42, version 6 (3B42v6), and the CPC morphing technique (CMORPH) for the West African summer season. The ARC2 RMSE is slightly higher for Ethiopia than those of CMORPH and 3B42v6. Both daily and monthly validations suggested that ARC2 underestimations may be attributed to the unavailability of daily GTS gauge reports in real time, and deficiencies in the satellite estimate associated with precipitation processes over coastal and orographic areas. However, ARC2 is expected to provide users with real-time monitoring of the daily evolution of precipitation, which is instrumental in improved decision making in famine early warning systems.

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Nicholas S. Novella
and
Wassila M. Thiaw

Abstract

This paper reports on the development of a new statistical tool that generates probabilistic outlooks of seasonal precipitation anomaly categories over Africa. Called the seasonal performance probability (SPP), it quantitatively evaluates the probability of precipitation to finish at predefined percent-of-normal anomaly categories corresponding to below-average (<80% of normal), average (80%–120% of normal), and above-average (>120% of normal) conditions. This is accomplished by applying methods for kernel density estimation (KDE), which compute smoothed, continuous density functions on the basis of more than 30 years of historical precipitation data from the Africa Rainfall Climatology, version 2, dataset (ARC2) for the remaining duration of a monsoon season. Discussion of various parameterizations of KDE and testing to determine optimality of density estimates (and thus performance of SPP for operational monitoring) are presented. Verification results from 2006 to 2015 show that SPP reliably provides probabilistic outcomes of seasonal rainfall anomaly categories by after the early to midstages of rain seasons for the major monsoon regions in East Africa, West Africa, and southern Africa. SPP has proven to be a useful tool by enhancing operational climate monitoring at CPC for its prognostic capability for famine early warning scenarios over Africa. These insights are anticipated to translate into better decision-making in food security, planning, and response objectives for the U.S. Agency for International Development/Famine Early Warning Systems Network (USAID/FEWS NET).

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