Evaluation of global fine-resolution precipitation products and their uncertainty quantification in ensemble discharge simulations

W. Qi, C. Zhang, G. T. Fu, C. Sweetapple, H. C. Zhou
2015 Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions  
The applicability of six fine-resolution precipitation products, including precipitation radar, infrared, microwave and gauge-based products using different precipitation computation recipes, is comprehensively evaluated using statistical and hydrological methods in a usually-neglected area (northeastern China), and a framework quantifying uncertainty contributions of precipitation products, hydrological models and their interactions to uncertainties in ensemble discharges is proposed. The
more » ... tigated precipitation products include TRMM3B42, TRMM3B42RT, GLDAS/Noah, APHRODITE, PERSIANN and GSMAP-MVK+. Two hydrological models of different complexities, i.e., a water and energy budget-based distributed hydrological model and a physically-based semi-distributed hydrological model, are employed to investigate the influence of hydrological models on simulated discharges. Results show APHRODITE has high accuracy at a monthly scale compared with other products, and the cloud motion vectors used by GSMAP-MVK+ show huge advantage. These findings could be very useful for validation, refinement and future development of satellite-based products (e.g., NASA Global Precipitation Measurement). Although significant uncertainty exists in heavy precipitation, hydrological models contribute most of the uncertainty in extreme discharges. Interactions between precipitation products and hydrological models contribute significantly to uncertainty in discharge simulations and a better precipitation product does not guarantee a better discharge simulation because of interactions. It is also found that a good discharge simulation depends on a good coalition of a hydrological model and a precipitation product, suggesting that, although the satellite-based precipitation products are not as accurate as the gauge-based product, they could have better performance in discharge simulations when appropriately combined with hydrological models. This information is revealed for the first time and very beneficial for precipitation product applications.
doi:10.5194/hessd-12-9337-2015 fatcat:bp7h5lgssfhbbhn72xdnd6qxye