Evaluation of Rainfall Products Derived from Satellites and Microwave Links for the Netherlands

Manuel F. Rios Gaona*, Aart Overeem, A. M. Brasjen, Jan Fokke Meirink, Hidde Leijnse, Remko Uijlenhoet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


High-resolution inputs of rainfall are important in hydrological sciences, especially for urban hydrology. This is mainly because heavy rainfall-induced events such as flash floods can have a tremendous impact on society given their destructive nature and the short time scales in which they develop. With the development of technologies such as radars, satellites and (commercial) microwave links (CMLs), the spatiotemporal resolutions at which rainfall can be retrieved are becoming higher and higher. For the land surface of The Netherlands, we evaluate here four rainfall products, i.e., link-derived rainfall maps, Integrated Multisatellite Retrievals for Global Precipitation Measurement (IMERG) Final Run (IMERG-Global Precipitation Measurement mission), Meteosat Second Generation Cloud Physical Properties (CPP), and Nighttime Infrared Precipitation Estimation (NIPE). All rainfall products are compared against gauge-adjusted radar data, considered as the ground truth given its high quality, resolution, and availability. The evaluation is done for seven months at 30 min and 24h. Overall, we found that link-derived rainfall maps outperform the satellite products and that IMERG outperforms CPP and NIPE. We also explore the potential of a CML network to validate satellite rainfall products. Usually, satellite derived products are validated against radar or rain gauge networks. If data from CMLs would be available, this would be highly relevant for ground validation in areas with scarce rainfall observations, since link-derived rainfall is truly independent of satellite-derived rainfall. The large worldwide coverage of CMLs potentially offers a more extensive platform for the ground validation of satellite estimates over the land surface of the Earth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8023853
Pages (from-to)6849-6859
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cloud physical properties (CPP)
  • commercial microwave link (CML)
  • global precipitation measurement mission (GPM)
  • Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG)
  • Meteosat Second Generation (MSG)
  • nighttime infrared (IR) precipitation estimation (NIPE)
  • radar
  • rain
  • satellites


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