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Scott Curtis, Robert F. Adler, George J. Huffman, Guojun Gu, David T. Bolvin, and Eric J. Nelkin
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Jian-Jian Wang, Robert F. Adler, George J. Huffman, and David Bolvin

Abstract

An updated 15-yr Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) composite climatology (TCC) is presented and evaluated. This climatology is based on a combination of individual rainfall estimates made with data from the primary TRMM instruments: the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) and the precipitation radar (PR). This combination climatology of passive microwave retrievals, radar-based retrievals, and an algorithm using both instruments simultaneously provides a consensus TRMM-based estimate of mean precipitation. The dispersion of the three estimates, as indicated by the standard deviation σ among the estimates, is presented as a measure of confidence in the final estimate and as an estimate of the uncertainty thereof. The procedures utilized by the compositing technique, including adjustments and quality-control measures, are described. The results give a mean value of the TCC of 4.3 mm day−1 for the deep tropical ocean belt between 10°N and 10°S, with lower values outside that band. In general, the TCC values confirm ocean estimates from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) analysis, which is based on passive microwave results adjusted for sampling by infrared-based estimates. The pattern of uncertainty estimates shown by σ is seen to be useful to indicate variations in confidence. Examples include differences between the eastern and western portions of the Pacific Ocean and high values in coastal and mountainous areas. Comparison of the TCC values (and the input products) to gauge analyses over land indicates the value of the radar-based estimates (small biases) and the limitations of the passive microwave algorithm (relatively large biases). Comparison with surface gauge information from western Pacific Ocean atolls shows a negative bias (~16%) for all the TRMM products, although the representativeness of the atoll gauges of open-ocean rainfall is still in question.

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Robert F. Adler, George J. Huffman, David T. Bolvin, Scott Curtis, and Eric J. Nelkin

Abstract

A technique is described to use Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) combined radar–radiometer information to adjust geosynchronous infrared satellite data [the TRMM Adjusted Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Precipitation Index (AGPI)]. The AGPI is then merged with rain gauge information (mostly over land) to provide finescale (1° latitude × 1° longitude) pentad and monthly analyses, respectively. The TRMM merged estimates are 10% higher than those from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) when integrated over the tropical oceans (37°N–37°S) for 1998, with 20% differences noted in the most heavily raining areas. In the dry subtropics the TRMM values are smaller than the GPCP estimates. The TRMM merged product tropical-mean estimates for 1998 are 3.3 mm day−1 over ocean and 3.1 mm day−1 over land and ocean combined. Regional differences are noted between the western and eastern Pacific Ocean maxima when TRMM and GPCP are compared. In the eastern Pacific rain maximum the TRMM and GPCP mean values are nearly equal, which is very different from the other tropical rainy areas where TRMM merged product estimates are higher. This regional difference may indicate that TRMM is better at taking into account the vertical structure of the rain systems and the difference in structure between the western and eastern (shallower) Pacific convection.

Comparisons of these TRMM merged analysis estimates with surface datasets shows varied results; the bias is near zero when compared with western Pacific Ocean atoll rain gauge data, but is significantly positive as compared with Kwajalein radar estimates (adjusted by rain gauges). Over land the TRMM estimates also show a significant positive bias. The inclusion of gauge information in the final merged product significantly reduces the bias over land, as expected.

The monthly precipitation patterns produced by the TRMM merged data process clearly show the evolution of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) tropical precipitation pattern from early 1998 (El Niño) to early 1999 (La Niña) and beyond. The El Niño-minus-La Niña difference map shows the expected eastern Pacific maximum, the “Maritime Continent” minima, and other tropical and midlatitude features, very similar to those detected by the GPCP analyses. However, summing the El Niño-minus-La Niña differences over the global tropical oceans yields divergent answers for interannual changes from TRMM, GPCP, and other estimates. This emphasizes the need for additional validation and analysis before it is feasible to understand the relations between global precipitation anomalies and Pacific Ocean ENSO temperature changes.

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David T. Bolvin, Robert F. Adler, George J. Huffman, Eric J. Nelkin, and Jani P. Poutiainen

Abstract

Monthly and daily products of the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) are evaluated through a comparison with Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) gauge observations for the period January 1995–December 2007 to assess the quality of the GPCP estimates at high latitudes. At the monthly scale both the final GPCP combination satellite–gauge (SG) product is evaluated, along with the satellite-only multisatellite (MS) product. The GPCP daily product is scaled to sum to the monthly product, so it implicitly contains monthly-scale gauge influence, although it contains no daily gauge information. As expected, the monthly SG product agrees well with the FMI observations because of the inclusion of limited gauge information. Over the entire analysis period the SG estimates are biased low by 6% when the same wind-loss adjustment is applied to the FMI gauges as is used in the SG analysis. The interannual anomaly correlation is about 0.9. The satellite-only MS product has a lesser, but still reasonably good, interannual correlation (∼0.6) while retaining a similar bias due to the use of a climatological bias adjustment. These results indicate the value of using even a few gauges in the analysis and provide an estimate of the correlation error to be expected in the SG analysis over ocean and remote land areas where gauges are absent. The daily GPCP precipitation estimates compare reasonably well at the 1° latitude × 2° longitude scale with the FMI gauge observations in the summer with a correlation of 0.55, but less so in the winter with a correlation of 0.45. Correlations increase somewhat when larger areas and multiday periods are analyzed. The day-to-day occurrence of precipitation is captured fairly well by the GPCP estimates, but the corresponding precipitation event amounts tend to show wide variability. The results of this study indicate that the GPCP monthly and daily fields are useful for meteorological and hydrological studies but that there is significant room for improvement of satellite retrievals and analysis techniques in this region. It is hoped that the research here provides a framework for future high-latitude assessment efforts such as those that will be necessary for the upcoming satellite-based Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission.

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Jackson Tan, George J. Huffman, David T. Bolvin, Eric J. Nelkin, and Manikandan Rajagopal

Abstract

A key strategy in obtaining complete global coverage of high-resolution precipitation is to combine observations from multiple fields, such as the intermittent passive microwave observations, precipitation propagated in time using motion vectors, and geosynchronous infrared observations. These separate precipitation fields can be combined through weighted averaging, which produces estimates that are generally superior to the individual parent fields. However, the process of averaging changes the distribution of the precipitation values, leading to an increase in precipitating area and decrease in the values of high precipitation rates, a phenomenon observed in IMERG. To mitigate this issue, we introduce a new scheme called SHARPEN, which recovers the distribution of the averaged precipitation field based on the idea of quantile mapping applied to the local environment. When implemented in IMERG, precipitation estimates from SHARPEN exhibit a distribution that resembles that of the original instantaneous observations, with matching precipitating area and peak precipitation rates. Case studies demonstrate its improved ability in bridging between the parent precipitation fields. Evaluation against ground observations reveals a distinct improvement in precipitation detection skill, but also a slightly reduced correlation likely because of a sharper precipitation field. The increased computational demand of SHARPEN can be mitigated by striding over multiple grid boxes, which has only marginal impacts on the accuracy of the estimates. SHARPEN can be applied to any precipitation algorithm that produces an average from multiple input precipitation fields and is being considered for implementation in IMERG V07.

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Robert F. Adler, Christian Kummerow, David Bolvin, Scott Curtis, and Chris Kidd

Abstract

Three years of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) monthly estimates of tropical surface rainfall are analyzed to document and understand the differences among the TRMM-based estimates and how these differences relate to the pre-TRMM estimates and current operational analyses. Variation among the TRMM estimates is shown to be considerably smaller than among a pre-TRMM collection of passive microwave-based products. Use of both passive and active microwave techniques in TRMM should lead to increased confidence in converged estimates.

Current TRMM estimates are shown to have a range of about 20% for the tropical ocean as a whole, with variations in heavily raining ocean areas of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) having differences over 30%. In midlatitude ocean areas the differences are smaller. Over land there is a distinct difference between the Tropics and midlatitude with a reversal between some of the products as to which tends to be relatively high or low. Comparisons of TRMM estimates with ocean atoll and land rain gauge information point to products that might have significant regional biases. The bias of the radar-based product is significantly low compared with atoll rain gauge data, while the passive microwave product is significantly high compared to rain gauge data in the deep Tropics.

The evolution of rainfall patterns during the recent change from intense El Niño to a long period of La Niña and then a gradual return to near neutral conditions is described using TRMM. The time history of integrated rainfall over the tropical oceans (and land) during this period differs among the passive and active microwave TRMM estimates.

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Jackson Tan, George J. Huffman, David T. Bolvin, and Eric J. Nelkin

Abstract

As the U.S. Science Team’s globally gridded precipitation product from the NASA–JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, the Integrated Multi-Satellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) estimates the surface precipitation rates at 0.1° every half hour using spaceborne sensors for various scientific and societal applications. One key component of IMERG is the morphing algorithm, which uses motion vectors to perform quasi-Lagrangian interpolation to fill in gaps in the passive microwave precipitation field using motion vectors. Up to IMERG V05, the motion vectors were derived from the large-scale motions of infrared observations of cloud tops. This study details the changes introduced in IMERG V06 to derive motion vectors from large-scale motions of selected atmospheric variables in numerical models, which allow IMERG estimates to be extended from the 60°N–60°S latitude band to the entire globe. Evaluation against both instantaneous passive microwave retrievals and ground measurements demonstrates the general improvement in the precipitation field of the new approach. Most of the model variables tested exhibited similar performance, but total precipitable water vapor was chosen as the source of the motion vectors for IMERG V06 due to its competitive performance and global completeness. Continuing assessments will provide further insights into possible refinements of this revised morphing scheme in future versions of IMERG.

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George J. Huffman, Robert F. Adler, Mark M. Morrissey, David T. Bolvin, Scott Curtis, Robert Joyce, Brad McGavock, and Joel Susskind

Abstract

The One-Degree Daily (1DD) technique is described for producing globally complete daily estimates of precipitation on a 1° × 1° lat/long grid from currently available observational data. Where possible (40°N–40°S), the Threshold-Matched Precipitation Index (TMPI) provides precipitation estimates in which the 3-hourly infrared brightness temperatures (IR T b) are compared with a threshold and all “cold” pixels are given a single precipitation rate. This approach is an adaptation of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Precipitation Index, but for the TMPI the IR T b threshold and conditional rain rate are set locally by month from Special Sensor Microwave Imager–based precipitation frequency and the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) satellite–gauge (SG) combined monthly precipitation estimate, respectively. At higher latitudes the 1DD features a rescaled daily Television and Infrared Observation Satellite Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS) precipitation. The frequency of rain days in the TOVS is scaled down to match that in the TMPI at the data boundaries, and the resulting nonzero TOVS values are scaled locally to sum to the SG (which is a globally complete monthly product).

The GPCP has approved the 1DD as an official product, and data have been produced for 1997 through 1999, with production continuing a few months behind real time (to allow access to monthly input data). The time series of the daily 1DD global images shows good continuity in time and across the data boundaries. Various examples are shown to illustrate uses. Validation for individual gridbox values shows a very high mean absolute error, but it improves quickly when users perform time/space averaging according to their own requirements.

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Gerald L Potter, George J. Huffman, David T. Bolvin, Michael G. Bosilovich, Judy Hertz, and Laura E. Carriere

ABSTRACT

We introduce a simple method for detecting changes, both transient and persistent, in reanalysis and merged satellite products due to both natural climate variability and changes to the data sources/analyses used as input. This note demonstrates this Histogram Anomaly Time Series (HATS) method using tropical ocean daily precipitation from MERRA-2 and from GPCP One-Degree Daily (1DD) precipitation estimates. Rather than averaging over space or time, we create a time series display of histograms for each increment of data (such as a day or month). Regional masks such as land–ocean can be used to isolate particular domains. While the histograms reveal subtle structures in the time series, we can amplify the signal by computing the histogram’s anomalies from its climatological seasonal cycle. The qualitative analysis provided by this scheme can then form the basis for more quantitative analyses of specific features, both real and analysis induced. As an example, in the tropical oceans the analysis clearly identifies changes in the time series of both reanalysis and observations that may be related to changing inputs.

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George J. Huffman, David T. Bolvin, Eric J. Nelkin, David B. Wolff, Robert F. Adler, Guojun Gu, Yang Hong, Kenneth P. Bowman, and Erich F. Stocker

Abstract

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) provides a calibration-based sequential scheme for combining precipitation estimates from multiple satellites, as well as gauge analyses where feasible, at fine scales (0.25° × 0.25° and 3 hourly). TMPA is available both after and in real time, based on calibration by the TRMM Combined Instrument and TRMM Microwave Imager precipitation products, respectively. Only the after-real-time product incorporates gauge data at the present. The dataset covers the latitude band 50°N–S for the period from 1998 to the delayed present. Early validation results are as follows: the TMPA provides reasonable performance at monthly scales, although it is shown to have precipitation rate–dependent low bias due to lack of sensitivity to low precipitation rates over ocean in one of the input products [based on Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-B (AMSU-B)]. At finer scales the TMPA is successful at approximately reproducing the surface observation–based histogram of precipitation, as well as reasonably detecting large daily events. The TMPA, however, has lower skill in correctly specifying moderate and light event amounts on short time intervals, in common with other finescale estimators. Examples are provided of a flood event and diurnal cycle determination.

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