Agreement between monthly precipitation estimates from TRMM satellite, NCEP reanalysis, and merged gauge-satellite analysis

Dong Bin Shin, Ju Hye Kim, Hyo Jin Park

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Global monthly precipitation is a critical element in understanding variability of the Earth's climate including changes in the hydrological cycle associated with global warming. The NCEP reanalysis (R1), GPCP, CMAP, and TMPA precipitation data sets are often used in climate studies. This study compares the data sets (R1, GPCP, CMAP, and TMPA) with the TRMM precipitation data sets derived from the TRMM precipitation radar (TPR), microwave imager (TMI), and combined algorithm (TCA) for 11 years (1998-2008) over the satellite's domain (40°S-40°N). The domain precipitation estimates from seven data sets range from 2.44 to 3.38 mm d-1 over the ocean and from 1.98 to 2.83 mm d-1 over land. The regional differences between the TPR and the other data sets are analyzed by a paired t test. Particularly, statistically significant differences between TPR and GPCP and between TPR and CMAP are found in most oceanic regions and in some land areas. In general, there exists substantial disagreement in precipitation intensities from the precipitation data sets. Therefore, significant consideration is given to the uncertainties in the data sets prior to applying the results to climate studies such as estimations of the global hydrological budget analyses. Meanwhile, the anomalies from all the data sets agree relatively well in their variability patterns. It is also found that the dominant mode of interannual variability which is associated with the ENSO pattern is clearly demonstrated by all precipitation data sets. These results suggest that all considered precipitation data sets may produce similar results when they are used for climate variability analyses on annual to interannual time scales.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberD16105
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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