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Evaluation of TRMM Precipitation Dataset over Himalayan Catchment: The Upper Ganga Basin, India

Shukla, Anoop Kumar, Ojha, Chandra Shekhar Prasad, Singh, Rajendra Prasad, Pal, Lalit, Fu, Dafang
Water 2019 v.11 no.3
basins, climate, coasts, data collection, hydrology, monsoon season, rain, satellites, watersheds, winter, Himalayan region, India
Satellite based rainfall estimation techniques have emerged as a potential alternative to ground based rainfall measurements. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation, in particular, has been used in various climate and hydrology based studies around the world. While having wide possibilities, TRMM rainfall estimates are found to be inconsistent with the ground based rainfall measurements at various locations such as the southwest coast and Himalayan region of India, northeast parts of USA, Lake Victoria in Africa, La Plata basin in South America, etc. In this study, the applicability of TRMM estimates is evaluated over the Upper Ganga Basin (Himalayan catchment) by comparing against gauge-based India Meteorological Department (IMD) gridded precipitation records. Apart from temporal evaluation, the ability of TRMM in capturing spatial distribution is also examined using three statistical parameters namely correlation coefficient (r), mean absolute error (MAE) and relative bias (RBIAS). In the results, the dual nature of bias is evident in TRMM precipitation with rainfall magnitude falling in the range from 100 to 370 mm representing positive bias, whereas, rainfall magnitude above 400 mm, approximately, representing negative bias. The Quantile Mapping (QM) approach has been used to correct the TRMM dataset from these biases. The raw TRMM precipitation is found to be fairly correlated with IMD rainfall for post-monsoon and winter season with R2 values of 0.65 and 0.57, respectively. The R2 value of 0.41 is obtained for the monsoon season, whereas least correlation is found for the pre-monsoon season with an R2 value of 0.24. Moreover, spatial distribution of rainfall during post-monsoon and winter season is captured adequately; however, the limited efficiency of TRMM is reflected for pre-monsoon and monsoon season. Bias correction has satisfactorily enhanced the spatial distribution of rainfall obtained from TRMM for almost all the seasons except for monsoon. Overall, the corrected TRMM precipitation dataset can be used for various climate analyses and hydrological water balance based studies in the Himalayan river basins.