How do different sensors impact IMERG precipitation estimates.

Ayat, H., J.P. Evans and A. Behrangi
Remote Sensing of Environment, 259, doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2021.112417, 2021.


Ground observation absence in many parts of the world highlights the importance of merged satellite precipitation products. In this study, we aim to evaluate the effect of different sources of data in the uncertainties of a merged satellite product, by comparing the Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) Final product (V06B) with a ground-based radar product, Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS), using both pixel-based and object-based approaches. This study is focused on the eastern United States (land-only) during the hurricane days that occurred in 2016–2018. The results showed that IMERG had better agreement in terms of the average precipitation intensity and area with a bias reduction of 75% and 65%, respectively, when the passive microwave (PMW) sensor overpass is matched instantaneously with MRMS compared to temporally averaged MRMS data (MRMS-Averaged). PMW observations tend to show storms with smaller areas in the IMERG Final product in comparison with MRMS, possibly due to the effect of light precipitation not detected properly by PMW sensors. However, by removing the light precipitation (less than 1 mm/h) in the object-based approach, hurricane objects in the IMERG Final product tend to be larger during the PMW observations, which might be related to different viewing angles of sensors contributing to MRMS and IMERG products. Precipitation estimates have smaller areas with higher average intensity during the PMW observations in the IMERG Final product compared to data estimated by Morphed or IR (morph/IR) observations, which is probably related to the effect of morphing technique, leading to homogenization of the varying rainstorm characteristics. In addition, with the longer absence of PMW observations, the quality of morph/IR estimates in IMERG Final product deteriorates with a decreasing correlation coefficient, a growth in precipitation area and a downward trend in average precipitation intensity. Finally, the inter-comparison of PMW sensors showed the priority of imagers over sounders with GMI as the best among imagers and MHS as the best among sounders in terms of correlation and average intensity compared to MRMS; however, SSMIS was the best in capturing the precipitation area.

Key Figure

Fig. 9. Precipitation areas sorted from smallest to largest based on MRMS-Averaged during the hurricane events for different PMW sensors for the entire domain (a-e) and for the hurricane objects only (f-j). The blue colour is related to IMERG, orange is for MRMS-Averaged, and green demonstrates MRMS-Reconstructed.

UNSW    This page is maintained by Jason Evans | Last updated 23 January 2018