Evaluation of GPM-DPR precipitation estimates with WegenerNet gauge data

Lasser, Martin; O, Sungmin; Foelsche, Ulrich

The core satellite of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission provides precipitation observations measured with the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The precipitation can only be estimated from the radar data, and therefore independent validations using direct precipitation measurements on the ground as a true reference need to be performed. Moreover, the quality and the accuracy of satellite observational data depend on various influencing factors, such as altitude, topography and rainfall type. In this way, a validation may help to minimise those uncertainties. The DPR Level 2 algorithms provide three different sets of radar rain rate estimates: Ku-band-only rain rates, Ka-band-only rain rates, and a product using both the Ku and Ka band. This study presents an evaluation of the three GPM-DPR surface precipitation estimates based on the gridded precipitation data of the WegenerNet, a local-scale terrestrial network of 153 meteorological stations in southeastern Austria. The validation is based on graphical and statistical approaches, using only data where both Ku- and Ka-band measurements are available. The focus lies on the resemblance of the rainfall variability within the whole network and the over- and underestimation of the precipitation through the GPM-DPR. The analysis rests upon 15 rainfall events observed by the GPM-DPR over the WegenerNet in the last 4 years; the meteorological winter is excluded due to technical challenges of snow measurements. The WegenerNet provides between 8 and 12 gauges within each GPM-DPR footprint. Its biases are well studied and corrected; thus, it can be taken as a robust ground reference. This work also includes considerations on the limits of such comparisons between small terrestrial networks with a high density of stations and precipitation observations from a satellite. Our results show that the GPM-DPR estimates basically match with the WegenerNet measurements, but absolute quantities are biased. The three types of radar estimates deliver similar results, where Ku-band and dual-frequency estimates are very close to each other. On a general level, Ka-band precipitation estimates deliver better results due to their greater sensitivity to low rainfall rates.

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Lasser, Martin / O, Sungmin / Foelsche, Ulrich: Evaluation of GPM-DPR precipitation estimates with WegenerNet gauge data. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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