Intercomparison of rain gauge, radar, and satellite-based precipitation estimates with emphasis on hydrologic forecasting

K K Yilmaz, T S Hogue, K L Hsu, S Sorooshian, H V Gupta, T Wagener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

212 Citations (Scopus)


This study compares mean areal precipitation (MAP) estimates derived from three sources: an operational rain gauge network (MAPG), a radar/gauge multisensor product (MAPX), and the Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information using Artificial Neural Networks (PERSIANN) satellite-based system (MAPS) for the time period from March 2000 to November 2003. The study area includes seven operational basins of varying size and location in the southeastern United States. The analysis indicates that agreements between the datasets vary considerably from basin to basin and also temporally within the basins. The analysis also includes evaluation of MAPS in comparison with MAPG for use in flow forecasting with a lumped hydrologic model [Sacramento Soil Moisture Accounting Model (SAC-SMA)]. The latter evaluation investigates two different parameter sets, the first obtained using manual calibration on historical MAPG, and the second obtained using automatic calibration on both MAPS and MAPG. but over a shorter time period (23 months). Results indicate that the overall performance of the model simulations using MAPS depends on both the bias in the precipitation estimates and the size of the basins, with poorer performance in basins of smaller size (large bias between MAPG and MAPS) and better performance in larger basins (less bias between MAPG and MAPS). When using MAPS, calibration of the parameters significantly improved the model performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-517
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005


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