Document Type


Publication Date



The rain gauge network associated with the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (WGEW) in southeastern Arizona provides a unique opportunity for direct comparisons of in situ measurements and satellite-based instantaneous rain rate estimates like those from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation radar (PR). The WGEW network is the densest rain gauge network in the PR coverage area for watersheds greater than 10 km(2). It consists of 88 weighing rain gauges within a 149-km(2) area. On average, approximately 10 gauges can be found in each PR field of view (similar to 5-km diameter). All gauges are very well synchronized with 1-min reporting intervals. This allows generating very-high-temporal-resolution rain rate fields and obtaining accurate estimates of the area-average rain rate for the entire watershed and for a single PR field of view. In this study, instantaneous rain rate fields from the PR and the spatially interpolated gauge measurements (on a 100 m 100 m grid, updated every 1 min) are compared for all TRMM overpasses in which the PR recorded rain within the WGEW boundaries (25 overpasses during 1999-2010). The results indicate very good agreement between the fields with low bias values (<10%) and high correlation coefficients, especially for the near-nadir cases (>0.9). The correlation is high at overpass time but the peak occurs several minutes after the overpass, which can be explained by the fact that it takes several minutes for the raindrops to reach the gauge from the time they are observed by the PR. The correlation improves with the new version of the TRMM algorithm (V7). The study includes assessment of the accuracy of the reference products.


This article was originally published in Journal of Hydrometeorology, volume 13, issue 5, in 2012. DOI: 10.1175/JHM-D-12-016.1


American Meteorological Society



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.