Inter-comparison of satellite rainfall products for representing rainfall diurnal cycle over the Nile basin

A.T. Haile, Emad Habib, Mohamed Elsaadani, T.H.M. Rientjes

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In this study, the authors inter-compared the performance of three satellite-rainfall products in representing the diurnal cycle of rain occurrence and rain rate over the Nile basin in eastern Africa. These products are the real time (RT) and post-real-time (PRT) (bias adjusted) versions of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and other sources product known as TRMM-3B42 and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center (NOAA-CPC) product which is based on the CPC morphing technique (CMORPH). The rainfall diurnal cycles are re-produced using these products with specific focus on assessing effects of geographic location and topographic features. The performance of the satellite products in representing rainfall diurnal cycle shows large variation over the Nile basin. The products overestimate rain occurrence over the lakes, islands, and shores and underestimate occurrence over mountain tops. Overall, CMORPH performs better than TRMM-3B42 RT and TRMM-3B42 PRT in capturing the diurnal cycle of rain rate in Lake Tana basin. However, the difference between the two products is very small for Lake Victoria basin, where both products perform more favorably. Over most of the Nile basin areas, the use of fine versus coarse temporal and spatial resolution of the CMORPH product showed large differences for diurnal cycle of rain occurrence than that of rain rate. Results also show that the bias adjustment of TRMM-3B42 product does not necessarily bring improvements probably since the adjustments are not performed based on local rain gauge data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-240
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation (JAG)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-293913
  • Rainfall diurnal cycle
  • Nile
  • Rainfall occurrence
  • IR-83729
  • TRMM-3B42
  • Lake Victoria
  • Lake Tana
  • Satellite-rainfall validation


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