Spatial and temporal patterns of remotely-sensed and field-measured rainfall in southern California

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Quantification of spatial and temporal patterns of rainfall is an important step toward developing regional hydrological models. However, traditionally used rain gauge data are sparse and do not always provide adequate spatial representation of rainfall. In this study, we evaluated the daily 1-degree resolution remotely-sensed atmospheric precipitation data provided by Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) as an alternative to rain gauge-measured data. We analyzed data from the watersheds of southern California during the period of 1996–2003, focusing on the comparison of patterns of spatial, seasonal, and interannual rainfall dynamics. We used Empirical Orthogonal Functions to discern the patterns of precipitation and atmospheric circulation at different time scales, from synoptic to interannual. The correlation between the daily rain gauge-measured and remotely-sensed precipitation was poor and the resulting patterns of remotely-sensed precipitation are different than the temporal patterns of precipitation accumulated by rain gauges.

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