A methodology for multiobjective evaluation of precipitation products for extreme weather (In a data-scarce environment)

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In this paper, a methodology is proposed to quantitatively evaluate precipitation products for multiple purposes. Evaluation mainly focuses on rainfall characteristics relevant to hydrological or agricultural ap-plications: spatial distribution pattern, effect of aggregation over time, the capture of small-scale variability and seasonality, detection of dry spells and wet spells, and timing and volume of heavy rainfall events. Verification statistics were modified and metrics were reported for extreme weather performance, such as flood and drought monitoring. The analysis was performed for different rainfall categories, over regions dominated by different weather systems or with different topographical structures. The latest versions of seven commonly available, high-resolution rainfall estimates have been evaluated by the method against daily data from 16 rain gauge stations over Tanzania, during 1998–2006. They were TRMM 3B42, CHIRPS, TAMSAT, CMORPH_RAW, CMORPH_BLD, WFDEI_CRU, and CPCU. All products, except for CMORPH_BLD and CPCU, were poorly correlated to gauge data at daily time scale with correlation coefficients < 0.5. Five-day aggregation was the minimum time scale that can be used for the products to reach an accuracy better than monthly-mean of gauge data. Their performance varied across different climatic or topographical regions and different rainfall seasons. Timing of precipitation was inaccurately estimated by all products, particularly for heavy rains, with less than 40% hits. The results of the evaluation procedure allow discrimination between available products and better selection of the product to be used for a specific application, such as crop insurance or flood early warning, under particular climatic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1223-1244
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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