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Bin Yong, Die Liu, Jonathan J. Gourley, Yudong Tian, George J. Huffman, Liliang Ren, and Yang Hong

Abstract

Accurate estimation of high-resolution precipitation on the global scale is extremely challenging. The operational Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) has created over 16 years of high-resolution quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE), and has built the foundation for improved measurements in the upcoming Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. TMPA is intended to produce the “best effort” estimates of quasi-global precipitation from almost all available satelliteborne precipitation-related sensors by consistently calibrating them with the high-quality measurements from the core instrument platform aboard TRMM. Recently, the TMPA system has been upgraded to version 7 to take advantage of newer and better sources of satellite inputs than version 6, and has attracted a large user base. A key product from TMPA is the near-real-time product (TMPA-RT), as its timeliness is particularly appealing for time-sensitive applications such as flood and landslide monitoring. TMPA-RT’s error characteristics on a global scale have yet to be extensively quantified and understood. In this study, efforts are focused on a systematic evaluation of four sets of mainstream TMPA-RT estimates on the global scale. The analysis herein indicates that the latest version 7 TMPA-RT with the monthly climatological calibration had the lowest daily systematic biases of approximately 9% over land and –11% over ocean (relative to the gauge-adjusted research product). However, there still exist some unresolved issues in mountainous areas (especially the Tibetan Plateau) and high-latitude belts, and for estimating extreme rainfall rates with high variability at small scales. These global error characteristics and their regional and seasonal variations revealed in this paper are expected to serve as the benchmark for the upcoming GPM mission.

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