loading page

Assessment of Satellite Precipitation Products in Relation with Orographic Enhancement Over the Western United States
  • Abishek Adhikari,
  • Ali Behrangi
Abishek Adhikari
University of Arizona

Corresponding Author:abi.adk@gmail.com

Author Profile
Ali Behrangi
University of Arizona
Author Profile


Different precipitation products are assessed for their skill in capturing orographic precipitation over the western United States using two popular methods. The first method defines orographic indices using orographic enhancement and moisture content that represents the amount of moisture advected over sloping terrain. In contrast, the second method classifies precipitation events into orographic and non-orographic events. NCEP Stage-IV product used as a reference. All of the evaluated products show more significant errors for the orographic than the non-orographic events. The Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR), combined radar and radiometer (COMBINE), Microwave Humidity sounder (MHS), and GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) severely underestimate the precipitation rates, especially for heavy precipitation (> 4 mm/day), whereas infrared precipitation of the Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG-IR) and a reanalysis product (ERA5) show relatively better estimation. Satellite products tend to show a lower fraction of precipitation occurrence and amount for orographic than no-orographic classes. It was found that rate BIAS varies with seasons, so in cold seasons satellite precipitation products tend to underestimate while in warm-season they (except DPR) tend to overestimate precipitation amount. Most of the satellite products severely underestimate precipitation volume at relatively colder surfaces (< 10 0C) and lower TPW (<15mm), but ERA5 shows little rate BIAS in such cases. The underestimation tends to be larger for orographic than non-orographic events. In contrast, ERA5 shows relatively large underestimation at warmer temperatures (>20 0C), where satellite products tend to overestimate precipitation amounts.
Feb 2022Published in Earth and Space Science volume 9 issue 2. 10.1029/2021EA001906