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Evaluating the performance of ground-based and remotely sensed near real-time rainfall fields from a hydrological perspective

TitleEvaluating the performance of ground-based and remotely sensed near real-time rainfall fields from a hydrological perspective
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsGhile Y, Schulze R., Brown C
JournalHydrologic Sciences Journal
Volume55
Issue4
Start Page497
Pagination497-511
Date Published05/2010
ISSN0262-6667
KeywordsACRU, champ fusionné, écoulement en rivière, merged field, pluviomètre, radar, rain gauge, satellite, streamflow
Abstract

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) issues routine experimental, near real-time rainfall maps from daily raingauge networks, radar networks and satellite images, as well as merged rainfall fields. These products are potentially useful for near real-time forecasting, especially in areas of fast hydrological response, and also to simulate the “now state” of various hydrological state variables such as soil moisture content, streamflow, and reservoir inflows. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate their skill as inputs to hydrological simulations and, in particular, the skill of the merged field in terms of better hydrological results relative to the individual products. Rainfall fields derived from raingauge, radar, satellite, conditioned satellite and the merged (gauge/radar/satellite) were evaluated for two selected days with relatively high amounts of rainfall, as well as for a continuous period of 90 days in the Mgeni catchment, South Africa. Streamflows simulated with the ACRU model indicate that the use of raingauge as well as merged fields of satellite/raingauge and satellite/radars/raingauge provides relatively realistic rainfall results, without much difference in their hydrological outputs, whereas the radar and raw satellite information by themselves cannot be used in operational hydrological application in their current status.

DOI10.1080/02626667.2010.481374