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Validating a rapid-update satellite precipitation analysis across telescoping space and time scales

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In order to properly utilize remotely sensed precipitation estimates in hydrometeorological applications, knowledge of the accuracy of the estimates are needed. However, relatively few ground validation networks operate with the necessary spatial density and time-resolution required for validation of high-resolution precipitation products (HRPP) generated at fine space and time scales (e.g., hourly accumulations produced on a 0.25° spatial scale). In this article, we examine over-land validation statistics for an operationally designed, meteorological satellite-based global rainfall analysis that blends intermittent passive microwave-derived rainfall estimates aboard a variety of low Earth-orbiting satellite platforms with sub-hourly time sampling capabilities of visible and infrared imagers aboard operational geostationary platforms. The validation dataset is comprised of raingauge data collected from the dense, nearly homogeneous, 1-min reporting Automated Weather Station (network of the Korean Meteorological Administration during the June to August 2000 summer monsoon season. The space-time RMS error, mean bias, and correlation matrices were computed using various time windows for the gauge averaging, centered about the satellite observation time. For ±10 min time window, a correlation of 0.6 was achieved at 0.1° spatial scale by averaging more than 3 days; coarsening the spatial scale to 1.8° produced the same correlation by averaging over 1 h. Finer than approximately 24-h and 1° time and space scales, respectively, a rapid decay of the error statistics was obtained by trading-off either spatial or time resolution. Beyond a daily time scale, the blended estimates were nearly unbiased and with an RMS error of no worse than 1 mm day−1.

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The first author acknowledges the support of the research sponsors, the Office of Naval Research, Program Element (PE-0602435N) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under grant NNG04HK11I. We acknowledge the efforts of the Microwave Surface and Precipitation Products System (MSPPS) at NOAA/NESDIS for the AMSU-B and MHS rainfall datasets, and the TRMM Precipitation Processing System (PPS) for the TMI and PR rainfall datasets.

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Correspondence to Francis Joseph Turk.

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Turk, F.J., Sohn, B., Oh, H. et al. Validating a rapid-update satellite precipitation analysis across telescoping space and time scales. Meteorol Atmos Phys 105, 99–108 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00703-009-0037-4

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  • Tropical Rainfall Measure Mission
  • Automate Weather Station
  • Geostationary Earth Orbit
  • False Alarm Ratio
  • Defense Meteorological Satellite Program