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Satya Prakash
,
Ashwin Seshadri
,
J. Srinivasan
, and
D. S. Pai

Abstract

Rain gauges are considered the most accurate method to estimate rainfall and are used as the “ground truth” for a wide variety of applications. The spatial density of rain gauges varies substantially and hence influences the accuracy of gridded gauge-based rainfall products. The temporal changes in rain gauge density over a region introduce considerable biases in the historical trends in mean rainfall and its extremes. An estimate of uncertainty in gauge-based rainfall estimates associated with the nonuniform layout and placement pattern of the rain gauge network is vital for national decisions and policy planning in India, which considers a rather tight threshold of rainfall anomaly. This study examines uncertainty in the estimation of monthly mean monsoon rainfall due to variations in gauge density across India. Since not all rain gauges provide measurements perpetually, we consider the ensemble uncertainty in spatial average estimation owing to randomly leaving out rain gauges from the estimate. A recently developed theoretical model shows that the uncertainty in the spatially averaged rainfall is directly proportional to the spatial standard deviation and inversely proportional to the square root of the total number of available gauges. On this basis, a new parameter called the “averaging error factor” has been proposed that identifies the regions with large ensemble uncertainties. Comparison of the theoretical model with Monte Carlo simulations at a monthly time scale using rain gauge observations shows good agreement with each other at all-India and subregional scales. The uncertainty in monthly mean rainfall estimates due to omission of rain gauges is largest for northeast India (~4% uncertainty for omission of 10% gauges) and smallest for central India. Estimates of spatial average rainfall should always be accompanied by a measure of uncertainty, and this paper provides such a measure for gauge-based monthly rainfall estimates. This study can be further extended to determine the minimum number of rain gauges necessary for any given region to estimate rainfall at a certain level of uncertainty.

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Satya Prakash
,
Ashis K. Mitra
,
Imranali M. Momin
,
D. S. Pai
,
E. N. Rajagopal
, and
S. Basu

Abstract

The upgraded version 7 (V7) of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) products is available to the user community. In this paper, two successive versions of the TMPA-3B42 research monitoring product, version 6 (V6) and V7, at the daily scale are evaluated over India during the southwest monsoon with gauge-based data for a 13-yr (1998–2010) period. Over typical monsoon rainfall zones, biases are improved by 5%–10% in V7 over the regions of higher rainfall like the west coast, northeastern, and central India. A similar reduced bias is seen in V7 over the rain-shadow region located in southeastern India. In terms of correlation, anomaly correlation, and RMSE, a marginal improvement is seen in V7. Additionally, in all-India summer monsoon rainfall amounts, mean, interannual values, and standard deviation show an overall improvement in V7. Different skill metrics over typical subregions within India show an improvement of the monsoon rainfall representation in V7. Rainfall frequency in different categories also indicates an overall improvement in V7 across all scales and subregions. Over central India regions associated with the monsoon transients, the sign of the bias has changed toward a positive bias. Even if the bias in the frequency of the occurrence of light rain has improved in V7, the values still show a large difference compared to observations. Though both V6 and V7 are able to represent the anomalous dry/wet regions during contrasting monsoon years, V7 shows some improvement in amplitude of those anomalies over V6. In general, V7 has considerably improved over V6 and will continue to be in demand from various sectors of observed rainfall data users.

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