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Evaluation of precipitation trends from high-resolution satellite precipitation products over Mainland China

Chen, Fengrui, Gao, Yongqi
Climate dynamics 2018 v.51 no.9-10 pp. 3311-3331
climate, rain gauges, satellites, winter, China
Many studies have reported the excellent ability of high-resolution satellite precipitation products (0.25° or finer) to capture the spatial distribution of precipitation. However, it is not known whether the precipitation trends derived from them are reliable. For the first time, we have evaluated the annual and seasonal precipitation trends from two typical sources of high-resolution satellite-gauge products, TRMM 3B43 and PERSIANN-CDR, using rain gauge observations over China, and they were also compared with those from gauge-only products (0.25° and 0.5° precipitation products, hereafter called CN25 and CN50). The evaluation focused mainly on the magnitude, significance, sign, and relative order of the precipitation trends, and was conducted at gridded and regional scales. The following results were obtained: (1) at the gridded scale, neither satellite-gauge products precisely measure the magnitude of precipitation trends but they do reproduce their sign and relative order; regarding capturing the significance of trends, they exhibit relatively acceptable performance only over regions with a sufficient amount of significant precipitation trends; (2) at the regional scale, both satellite-gauge products generally provide reliable precipitation trends, although they do not reproduce the magnitude of trends in winter precipitation; and (3) overall, CN50 and TRMM 3B43 outperform others in reproducing all four aspects of the precipitation trends. Compared with CN25, PERSIANN-CDR performs better in determining the magnitude of precipitation trends but marginally worse in reproducing their sign and relative order; moreover, both of them are at a level in capturing the significance of precipitation trends.