Intercomparison of annual precipitation indices and extremes over global land areas from in situ, space-based and reanalysis products
PublisherIOP Publishing Ltd
Rights accessOpen Access
A range of in situ, satellite and reanalysis products on a common daily 1° × 1° latitude/longitude grid were extracted from the Frequent Rainfall Observations on Grids database to help facilitate intercomparison and analysis of precipitation extremes on a global scale. 22 products met the criteria for this analysis, namely that daily data were available over global land areas from 50°S to 50°N since at least 2001. From these daily gridded data, 10 annual indices that represent aspects of extreme precipitation frequency, duration and intensity were calculated. Results were analysed for individual products and also for four cluster types: (i) in situ, (ii) corrected satellite, (iii) uncorrected satellite and (iv) reanalyses. Climatologies based on a common 13-year period (2001–2013) showed substantial differences between some products. Timeseries (which ranged from 13 years to 67 years) also highlighted some substantial differences between products. A coefficient of variation showed that the in situ products were most similar to each other while reanalysis products had the largest variations. Reanalyses however agreed better with in situ observations over extra-tropical land areas compared to the satellite clusters, although reanalysis products tended to fall into 'wet' and 'dry' camps overall. Some indices were more robust than others across products with daily precipitation intensity showing the least variation between products and days above 20 mm showing the largest variation. In general, the results of this study show that global space-based precipitation products show the potential for climate scale analyses of extremes. While we recommend caution for all products dependent on their intended application, this particularly applies to reanalyses which show the most divergence across results.
CitationAlexander, L. V. [et al.]. Intercomparison of annual precipitation indices and extremes over global land areas from in situ, space-based and reanalysis products. "Environmental Research Letters", 2020, vol. 15, núm. 5, 055002.