Validation of new satellite rainfall products over the Upper Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia

Ayehu, Getachew Tesfaye; Tadesse, Tsegaye; Gessesse, Berhan; Dinku, Tufa

Accurate measurement of rainfall is vital to analyze the spatial and temporal patterns of precipitation at various scales. However, the conventional rain gauge observations in many parts of the world such as Ethiopia are sparse and unevenly distributed. An alternative to traditional rain gauge observations could be satellite-based rainfall estimates. Satellite rainfall estimates could be used as a sole product (e.g., in areas with no (or poor) ground observations) or through integrating with rain gauge measurements. In this study, the potential of a newly available Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS) rainfall product has been evaluated in comparison to rain gauge data over the Upper Blue Nile basin in Ethiopia for the period of 2000 to 2015. In addition, the Tropical Applications of Meteorology using SATellite and ground-based observations (TAMSAT 3) and the African Rainfall Climatology (ARC 2) products have been used as a benchmark and compared with CHIRPS. From the overall analysis at dekadal (10 days) and monthly temporal scale, CHIRPS exhibited better performance in comparison to TAMSAT 3 and ARC 2 products. An evaluation based on categorical/volumetric and continuous statistics indicated that CHIRPS has the greatest skills in detecting rainfall events (POD inline-formula= 0.99, 1.00) and measure of volumetric rainfall (VHI inline-formula= 1.00, 1.00), the highest correlation coefficients (inline-formular= 0.81, 0.88), better bias values (0.96, 0.96), and the lowest RMSE (28.45 mm dekadinline-formula−1, 59.03 mm monthinline-formula−1) than TAMSAT 3 and ARC 2 products at dekadal and monthly analysis, respectively. CHIRPS overestimates the frequency of rainfall occurrence (up to 31 % at dekadal scale), although the volume of rainfall recorded during those events was very small. Indeed, TAMSAT 3 has shown a comparable performance with that of the CHIRPS product, mainly with regard to bias. The ARC 2 product was found to have the weakest performance underestimating rain gauge observed rainfall by about 24 %. In addition, the skill of CHIRPS is less affected by variation in elevation in comparison to TAMSAT 3 and ARC 2 products. CHIRPS resulted in average biases of 1.11, 0.99, and 1.00 at lower (< 1000 m a.s.l.), medium (1000 to 2000 m a.s.l.), and higher elevation (> 2000 m a.s.l.), respectively. Overall, the finding of this validation study shows the potentials of the CHIRPS product to be used for various operational applications such as rainfall pattern and variability study in the Upper Blue Nile basin in Ethiopia.

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Ayehu, Getachew Tesfaye / Tadesse, Tsegaye / Gessesse, Berhan / et al: Validation of new satellite rainfall products over the Upper Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Getachew Tesfaye Ayehu et al.

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