Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 129, Issue 6, pp 669–689 | Cite as

Comparison of five gridded precipitation products at climatological scales over West Africa

  • A. A. AkinsanolaEmail author
  • K. O. Ogunjobi
  • V. O. Ajayi
  • E. A. Adefisan
  • J. A. Omotosho
  • S. Sanogo
Original Paper


The paper aimed at assessing the capabilities and limitations of five different precipitation products to describe rainfall over West Africa. Five gridded precipitation datasets of the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) Multi-Platform Analysis (TMPA 3B43v7); University of Delaware (UDEL version 3.01); Climatic Research Unit (CRU version 3.1); Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC version 7) and African Rainfall Climatology (ARC version 2) were compared and validated with reference ground observation data from 81 stations spanning a 19-year period, from January 1990 to December 2008. Spatial investigation of the precipitation datasets was performed, and their capability to replicate the inter-annual and intra-seasonal variability was also assessed. The ability of the products to capture the El Nino and La Nina events were also assessed. Results show that all the five datasets depicted similar spatial distribution of mean rainfall climatology, although differences exist in the total rainfall amount for each precipitation dataset. Further analysis shows that the three distinct phases of the mean annual cycle of the West Africa Monsoon precipitation were well captured by the datasets. However, CRU, GPCC and UDEL failed to capture the little dry season in the month of August while UDEL and GPCC underestimated rainfall amount in the Sahel region. Results of the inter-annual precipitation anomalies shows that ARC2 fail to capture about 46% of the observed variability while the other four datasets exhibits a greater performance (r > 0.9). All the precipitation dataset except ARC2 were consistent with the ground observation in capturing the dry and wet conditions associated with El Nino and La Nina events, respectively. ARC2 tends to overestimate the El Nino event and failed to capture the La Nina event in all the years considered. In general GPCC, CRU and TRMM were found to be the most outstanding datasets and can, therefore, be used for precipitation assessment over West Africa.


Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Climate Research Unit Precipitation Dataset Global Precipitation Climatology Centre Guinea Coast 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to the services that have operated the ARC2, TRMM, CRU, UDEL and GPCC products. Also the WMO and African rainfall database of the Institute of Geophysics and Meteorology, University of Cologne, Germany for the provision of the reference ground observation data. Finally, we wish to thank the three anonymous reviewers whose comments helped to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. A. Akinsanola
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • K. O. Ogunjobi
    • 2
  • V. O. Ajayi
    • 2
  • E. A. Adefisan
    • 2
  • J. A. Omotosho
    • 2
  • S. Sanogo
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Energy and EnvironmentCity University of Hong KongKowloon TongHong Kong SAR
  2. 2.Department of Meteorology and Climate ScienceFederal University of Technology AkureAkureNigeria
  3. 3.Faculté des Sciences et Techniques (FST)Université des Sciences des Techniques et des Technologies de Bamako (USTT-B)BamakoMali

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