Multiple timescale intercomparison of two radar products and rain gauge observations over the Arkansas- Red River Basin

Author: C. Grassotti and Ross N. Hoffman
December 9, 2003
Journal Article
Weather and Forecasting

Grassotti, Christopher, Ross N. Hoffman, Enrique R. Vivoni, Dara Entekhabi, 2003: Multiple-Timescale Intercomparison of Two Radar Products and Rain Gauge Observations over the Arkansas–Red River Basin. Wea. Forecasting, 18, 1207–1229.
doi: 10.1175/1520-0434(2003)018<1207:MIOTRP>2.0.CO;2

A detailed intercomparison was performed for the period January 1998–June 1999 of three different sets of rainfall observations over the watershed covered by the National Weather Service Arkansas–Red Basin River Forecast Center (ABRFC). The rainfall datasets were 1) hourly 4-km-resolution ABRFC-produced P1 estimates, 2) 15-min 2-km resolution NOWrad estimates produced and marketed by Weather Services International Corporation (WSI), and 3) conventional hourly rain gauge observations available from the operational observing network. Precipitation estimates from the three products were compared at monthly, daily, and hourly timescales for the Arkansas–Red River basin and the Illinois River basin. Results indicate that the P1 products had a higher correlation and smaller bias relative to rain gauges than did the WSI products. The fact that the P1 estimates are bias corrected using gauges themselves makes an independent assessment difficult. WSI monthly accumulations seemed to overestimate (underestimate) total rainfall relative to gauges during the warm (cold) season. WSI and P1 estimates had very good agreement overall with correlation coefficients of daily accumulations generally greater than 0.7. The P1 hourly estimates were characterized by a large proportion of extremely light rainfall rates (less than 2 mm h−1). This is likely due to the P1 bias correction algorithm's use of sparse gauge data during low-level stratiform precipitation events. Finally, analyses of mean areal precipitation, fractional coverage, and storm total rainfall for the Illinois River basin demonstrate the potential impact of these rainfall products on hydrologic models that use these precipitation estimates as meteorological forcing.