Evaluation of Multiple Satellite-Based Precipitation Products over Complex Topography

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DERIN Y., Yilmaz K. K.

JOURNAL OF HYDROMETEOROLOGY, vol.15, no.4, pp.1498-1516, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1175/jhm-d-13-0191.1
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1498-1516
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This study evaluates the performance of four satellite-based precipitation (SBP) products over the western Black Sea region of Turkey, a region characterized by complex topography that exerts strong controls on the precipitation regime. The four SBP products include the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis version 7 experimental near-real-time product (TMPA-7RT) and post-real-time research-quality product (TMPA-7A), the Climate Prediction Center morphing technique (CMORPH), and the Multisensor Precipitation Estimate (MPE) of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). Evaluation is performed at various spatial (point and grid) and temporal (daily, monthly, seasonal, and annual) scales over the period 2007-11. For the grid-scale evaluation, a rain gauge-based gridded precipitation dataset was constructed using a knowledge-based system in which "physiographic descriptors" are incorporated in the precipitation estimation through an optimization framework. The results indicated that evaluated SBP products generally had difficulty in representing the precipitation gradient normal to the orography. TMPA-7RT, TMPA-7A, and MPE products underestimated precipitation along the windward region and overestimated the precipitation on the leeward region, more significantly during the cold season. The CMORPH product underestimated the precipitation on both windward and leeward regions regardless of the season. Further investigation of the datasets used in the development of these SBP products revealed that, although both infrared (IR) and microwave (MW) datasets contain potential problems, the inability of MW sensors to detect precipitation especially in the cold season was the main challenge over this region with complex topography.