Validation of Satellite Precipitation Adjustment Methodology From Seven Basins in the Continental United States

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Journal of the American Water Resources Association


The precipitation science community has expressed concern regarding the ability of satellite-based precipitation products to accurately capture rainfall values over land. There has been some work that has focused on addressing the deficiencies of satellite precipitation products, particularly on the adjustment of bias. This article outlines a methodology that adjusts satellite products utilizing ground-based precipitation data. The approach is not a simple bias adjustment, but is a three-step process that transforms a satellite product based on a ground-based precipitation product (NEXRAD-derived Multisensor Precipitation Estimator [MPE] product or rain-gauge data). The developed methodology was successfully applied to seven moderate-to-large sized watersheds from continental United States (CONUS) and northern Mexico over a spectrum of climatic regimes ranging from dry to humid settings. Methodology validation is based on comparison of observed and simulated streamflow generated with SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) model using unadjusted and adjusted precipitation products as input. Streamflow comparison is based on mass balance error and Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient. Finally, the contribution of how adjustment to correct misses, false alarms, and bias impacts adjusted datasets and the potential impact that the adjustment methodology can have on hydrological applications such as water resource monitoring and flood prediction are explored. © 2011 American Water Resources Association.

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