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Publication: Performance assessment of GPM IMERG products at different time resolutions, climatic areas and topographic conditions in Catalonia

Notícia | 12-10-2022

Quantitative Precipitation Estimates (QPEs) from the Integrated Multisatellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) provide crucial information about the spatio-temporal distribution of precipitation in semiarid regions with complex orography, such as Catalonia (NE Spain). The network of automatic weather stations of the Meteorological Service of Catalonia is used to assess the performance of three IMERG products (Early, Late and Final) at different time scales, ranging from yearly to sub-daily periods. The analysis at a half-hourly scale also considered three different orographic features (valley, flat and ridgetop), diverse climatic conditions (BSk, Csa, Cf and Df) and five categories related to rainfall intensity (light, moderate, intense, very intense and torrential). While IMERG_E and IMERG_L overestimate precipitation, IMERG_F reduces the error at all temporal scales. However, the calibration to which a Final run is subjected causes underestimation regardless in some areas, such as the Pyrenees mountains. The proportion of false alarms is a problem for IMERG, especially during the summer, mainly associated with the detection of false precipitation in the form of light rainfall. At sub-daily scales, IMERG showed high bias and very low correlation values, indicating the remaining challenge for satellite sensors to estimate precipitation at high temporal resolution. This behaviour was more evident in flat areas and cold semi-arid climates, wherein overestimates of more than 30% were found. In contrast, rainfall classified as very heavy and torrential showed significant underestimates, higher than 80%, reflecting the inability of IMERG to detect extreme sub-daily precipitation events.