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Climate analysis with satellite versus weather station data


This paper compares how well satellite versus weather station measurements of climate predict agricultural performance in Brazil, India, and the United States. Although weather stations give accurate measures of ground conditions, they entail sporadic observations that require interpolation where observations are missing. In contrast, satellites have trouble measuring some ground phenomenon such as precipitation but they provide complete spatial coverage of various parameters over a landscape. The satellite temperature measurements slightly outperform the interpolated ground station data but the precipitation ground measurements generally outperform the satellite surface wetness index. In India, the surface wetness index outperforms station precipitation but this may be reflecting irrigation, not climate. The results suggest that satellites provide promising measures of temperature but that ground station data may still be preferred for measuring precipitation in rural settings.

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Correspondence to Robert Mendelsohn.

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Mendelsohn, R., Kurukulasuriya, P., Basist, A. et al. Climate analysis with satellite versus weather station data. Climatic Change 81, 71–83 (2007).

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  • Surface Wetness
  • Weather Station Data
  • Defense Meteorological Satellite Program
  • Springer Climatic Change
  • Satellite Temperature