Dynamics-aerosol-chemistry-cloud interactions in West Africa
Research Publications
Precipitative Processes
26 January 2016
Evaluating Satellite-Based Diurnal Cycles of Precipitation in the African Tropics
DOI Number: 10.1175/JAMC-D-15-0065.1
Author: U. Pfeifroth, J. Trentmann, A.H. Fink, B. Ahrens
Precipitation plays a major role in the energy and water cycles of the earth. Because of its variable nature, consistent observations of global precipitation are challenging. Satellite-based precipitation datasets present an alternative to in situ–based datasets in areas sparsely covered by ground stations. These datasets are a unique tool for model evaluations, but the value of satellite-based precipitation datasets depends on their application and scale. Numerous validation studies considered monthly or daily time scales, while less attention is given to subdaily scales. In this study subdaily satellite-based rainfall data are analyzed in West Africa, a region with strong diurnal variability. Several satellite-based precipitation datasets are validated, including Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA), TRMM 3G68 products, Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information Using Artificial Neural Networks (PERSIANN), and Climate Prediction Center (CPC) morphing technique (CMORPH) data. As a reference, highly resolved in situ data from the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis–Couplage de l’Atmosphere Tropical et du Cycle Hydrologique (AMMA-CATCH) are used. As a result, overall the satellite products capture the diurnal cycles of precipitation and its variability as observed on the ground reasonably well. CMORPH and TMPA data show overall good results. For locally induced convective rainfall in the evening most satellite data show slight delays in peak precipitation of up to 2 h.