PEW - Event Week 2014

30 Minutes

Emmanouil Anagnostou, University of Connecticut

Hydrologic Uses of Global Satellite Precipitation Datasets in Complex Terrain Regions

Published: 11 December 2015

The advancements in satellite rainfall observations over the past decade have opened new horizons in hydrological applications at global scale. Specifically, newly available high resolution (8-25 km, 1-3 hourly) satellite precipitation estimates (HPE) have allowed researchers to consider their potential integration with hydrologic models for flood modelling applications. However, performance evaluation of HPEs in cases of major flash flood-inducing storms is needed to assess their ability to represent the high rainfall variability associated with these storms. Furthermore, derivation of error metrics are usually based on long time records (years) thus results are bulked and cannot provide clear evidence for the efficiency of high resolution satellite precipitation products in quantifying heavy precipitation events that are usually responsible for the occurrence of flash floods. In this talk we will review a comprehensive error analysis of the currently available global-scale HPE products based on a number of major flash flood-inducing storms that occurred in Southern Europe and Western Mediterranean basins over the past 12 years. Quality controlled rainfall datasets derived from high-resolution radar-rainfall estimates and/or dense rain gauge network observations are used for reference. The ability of satellite-rainfall to represent the magnitude and spatiotemporal patterns of each storm is examined. Strengths and limitations of each product are highlighted and general findings are anticipated to serve as a valuable reference to both hydrologists and satellite product developers. Finally, the error propagation from rainfall to flood simulation is examined, and error correction techniques based on a newly developed NWP-based correction technique are evaluated in terms of their impact on flood prediction efficiency.

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Filed under Keywords:

hydrology, rainfall, satellites, complex terrain, flash flood