Water Resources Management

, Volume 28, Issue 8, pp 2259–2278 | Cite as

Improvement of Multi-Satellite Real-Time Precipitation Products for Ensemble Streamflow Simulation in a Middle Latitude Basin in South China

  • Shanhu Jiang
  • Liliang Ren
  • Yang Hong
  • Xiaoli Yang
  • Mingwei Ma
  • Yu Zhang
  • Fei Yuan


The real-time availability of several satellite-based precipitation products has recently provided hydrologists with an unprecedented opportunity to improve current hydrologic prediction capability for vast river basins, particularly for ungauged regions. However, the accuracy of real-time satellite precipitation data remains uncertain. This study aims to use three widely used real-time satellite precipitation products, namely, TRMM Multi satellite Precipitation Analysis real-time precipitation product 3B42 (TMPA 3B42RT), Precipitation Estimation from Remote Sensing Information using Artificial Neural Network (PERSIAN), and NOAA/Climate Precipitation Center Morphing Technique (CMORPH), for ensemble stream flow simulation with the gridded xinanjiang (XAJ) model and shuffled complex evolution metropolis (SCEM-UA) algorithm in the middle-latitude Mishui basin in South China. To account the bias of the satellite precipitation data and consider the input uncertainty, two different methods, i.e. a precipitation error multiplier and a precipitation error model were introduced. For each precipitation input model, the posterior probability distribution of the parameters and their associated uncertainty were calibrated using the SCEM-UA algorithm, and 15,000 ensemble stream flow simulations were conducted. The simulations of the satellite precipitation data were then optimally merged using the Bayseian model averaging (BMA) method. The result shows that in Mishui basin, the three sets of real-time satellite precipitation data largely underestimated rainfall. Streamflow simulation performed poorly when the raw satellite precipitation data were taken as input and the model parameters were calibrated with gauged data. By implementing the precipitation error multiplier and the precipitation error model and then recalibrating the model, the behavior of the simulated stream flow and calculated uncertainty boundary were significantly improved. Furthermore, the BMA combination of the simulations from the three datasets resulted in a significantly better prediction with a remarkably reliable uncertainty boundary and was comparable with the simulation using the post-real-time bias-corrected research quality TMPA 3B42V7. The proposed methodology of bias adjustment, uncertainty analysis, and BMA combination collectively facilitates the application of the current three real-time satellite data to hydrological prediction and water resource management over many under-gauged basins. This research is also an investigation on the hydrological utility of multi-satellite precipitation data ensembles, which can potentially integrate additional more satellite products when the Global Precipitation Measuring mission with 9-satellite constellation is anticipated in 2014.


Satellite precipitation Error adjustment Ensemble streamflow simulation Uncertainty analysis Hydrological model Bayesian model averaging 



The current study was jointly supported by the Programme of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities by the Ministry of Education and the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, China (the 111 Project, No. B08048), the Special Basic Research Fund by the Ministry of Science and Technology, China (No. 2011IM011000), the National Science Foundation for Young Scientists of China (No. 41,201,031), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities. We also acknowledge the HyDROS Lab (HyDRometeorology and RemOte Sensing Laboratory: at the National Weather Center, Norman, OK for their guidance and support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shanhu Jiang
    • 1
  • Liliang Ren
    • 1
  • Yang Hong
    • 2
  • Xiaoli Yang
    • 1
  • Mingwei Ma
    • 1
  • Yu Zhang
    • 2
  • Fei Yuan
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, College of Hydrology and Water ResourcesHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences and School of MeteorologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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