Science Papers Documents

  • A Ground Validation Network for the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission
    Publication Date:
    03/01/2011
    Abstract / Summary:

    A prototype Validation Network (VN) is currently operating as part of the Ground Validation System for NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. The VN supports precipitation retrieval algorithm development in the GPM prelaunch era. Postlaunch, the VN will be used to validate GPM spacecraft instrument measurements and retrieved precipitation data products.

    The period of record for the VN prototype starts on 8 August 2006 and runs to the present day. The VN database includes spacecraft data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation radar (PR) and coincident ground radar (GR) data from operational meteorological networks in the United States, Australia, Korea, and the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Satellite and ground radar data products are collected whenever the PR satellite track crosses within 200 km of a VN ground radar, and these data are stored permanently in the VN database. VN products are generated from coincident PR and GR observations when a significant rain event occurs.

    The VN algorithm matches PR and GR radar data (including retrieved precipitation data in the case of the PR) by calculating averages of PR reflectivity (both raw and attenuation corrected) and rain rate, and GR reflectivity at the geometric intersection of the PR rays with the individual GR elevation sweeps. The algorithm thus averages the minimum PR and GR sample volumes needed to “matchup” the spatially coincident PR and GR data types. The result of this technique is a set of vertical profiles for a given rainfall event, with coincident PR and GR samples matched at specified heights throughout the profile.

    VN data can be used to validate satellite measurements and to track ground radar calibration over time. A comparison of matched TRMM PR and GR radar reflectivity factor data found a remarkably small difference between the PR and GR radar reflectivity factor averaged over this period of record in stratiform and convective rain cases when samples were taken from high in the atmosphere. A significant difference in PR and GR reflectivity was found in convective cases, particularly in convective samples from the lower part of the atmosphere. In this case, the mean difference between PR and corrected GR reflectivity was −1.88 dBZ. The PR–GR bias was found to increase with the amount of PR attenuation correction applied, with the PR–GR bias reaching −3.07 dBZ in cases where the attenuation correction applied is >6 dBZ. Additional analysis indicated that the version 6 TRMM PR retrieval algorithm underestimates rainfall in case of convective rain in the lower part of the atmosphere by 30%–40%.

  • A First Approach to Global Runoff Simulation using Satellite Rainfall Estimation
    Keywords:
    Publication Date:
    08/11/2007
    Abstract / Summary:
    Motivated by the recent increasing availability of global remote sensing data for estimating precipitation and describing land surface characteristics, this note reports an approximate assessment of quasi-global runoff computed by incorporating satellite rainfall data and other remote sensing products in a relatively simple rainfall-runoff simulation approach: the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) runoff curve number (CN) method. Using an antecedent precipitation index (API) as a proxy of antecedent moisture conditions, this note estimates time-varying NRCS-CN values determined by the 5-day normalized API. Driven by a multiyear (1998–2006) Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis, quasi-global runoff was retrospectively simulated with the NRCS-CN method and compared to Global Runoff Data Centre data at global and catchment scales. Results demonstrated the potential for using this simple method when diagnosing runoff values from satellite rainfall for the globe and for medium to large river basins. This work was done with the simple NRCS-CN method as a first-cut approach to understanding the challenges that lie ahead in advancing the satellite-based inference of global runoff. We expect that the successes and limitations revealed in this study will lay the basis for applying more advanced methods to capture the dynamic variability of the global hydrologic process for global runoff monitoring in real time. The essential ingredient in this work is the use of global satellite-based rainfall estimation.
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    A Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) Validation Network Prototype
    Keywords:
    Publication Date:
    Abstract / Summary:

    A Validation Network (VN) prototype is currently underway that compares data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite Precipitation Radar (PR) to similar measurements from the U.S. national network of operational weather radars. This prototype is being conducted as part of the ground validation activities of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. The purpose of the VN is to provide a means for the precipitation community to identify and resolve significant discrepancies between the U.S. national network of ground radar observations and satellite observations. The ultimate goal of such comparisons is to understand and resolve the first order variability and bias of precipitation retrievals in different meteorological/hydrological regimes at large scales. The VN prototype is based on research results and computer code described by Anagnostou et al. (2001), Bolen and Chandrasekar (2000), and Liao et al. (2001).