20 Mar 2024
 | 20 Mar 2024

An intercomparison of four gridded precipitation products over Europe using the three-cornered-hat method

Llorenç Lledó, Thomas Haiden, and Matthieu Chevallier

Abstract. Precipitation is arguably one of the most relevant surface variables impacting human lives on the planet, but global-coverage, high-resolution and good-quality observations are not readily available. In particular, gridded observational datasets are much needed for model development and forecast quality assessment. Here we compare the quality of four types of gridded precipitation products over Europe, namely: a rain-gauge interpolation; a satellite-derived product; a radar composite; and a reanalysis. Each product has its own strengths and weaknesses, and since each precipitation estimate uses different measuring techniques, we can employ a triangulation method to estimate the error variance of each product with respect to the unknown true values. Results show that: a) the satellite product has limited quality over Europe and may be problematic to use in quantitative forecast evaluation and diagnostics; b) the radar composite has spurious features that need to be considered when used in verification; c) all products struggle in topographically complex areas; d) the rain-gauge interpolation is not free of errors, despite rain gauges being often treated as ground truth in the literature; and e) the reanalysis dataset produces in some cases the best available estimates, in particular over the European near-coastal waters.

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Llorenç Lledó, Thomas Haiden, and Matthieu Chevallier

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-807', Richard Anthes, 03 Apr 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Llorenç Lledó, 21 Jun 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-807', Anonymous Referee #2, 24 Apr 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Llorenç Lledó, 21 Jun 2024
Llorenç Lledó, Thomas Haiden, and Matthieu Chevallier

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Jupyter notebook containing all the analyses Llorenç Lledó

Llorenç Lledó, Thomas Haiden, and Matthieu Chevallier


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Short summary
High-quality observational datasets are essential to perform forecast verification and improve weather forecast services. When it comes to verifying precipitation, a high-resolution, global-coverage and good-quality dataset is not yet available. This research analyses the strengths and shortcomings of four observational products that employ complementary measurement techniques to estimate surface precipitation. Satellites provide good spatial coverage, but other products are still more accurate.