A Bayesian kriging approach for blending satellite and ground precipitation observations

Water Resources Research
By: , and 



Drought and flood management practices require accurate estimates of precipitation. Gauge observations, however, are often sparse in regions with complicated terrain, clustered in valleys, and of poor quality. Consequently, the spatial extent of wet events is poorly represented. Satellite-derived precipitation data are an attractive alternative, though they tend to underestimate the magnitude of wet events due to their dependency on retrieval algorithms and the indirect relationship between satellite infrared observations and precipitation intensities. Here we offer a Bayesian kriging approach for blending precipitation gauge data and the Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation satellite-derived precipitation estimates for Central America, Colombia, and Venezuela. First, the gauge observations are modeled as a linear function of satellite-derived estimates and any number of other variables—for this research we include elevation. Prior distributions are defined for all model parameters and the posterior distributions are obtained simultaneously via Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling. The posterior distributions of these parameters are required for spatial estimation, and thus are obtained prior to implementing the spatial kriging model. This functional framework is applied to model parameters obtained by sampling from the posterior distributions, and the residuals of the linear model are subject to a spatial kriging model. Consequently, the posterior distributions and uncertainties of the blended precipitation estimates are obtained. We demonstrate this method by applying it to pentadal and monthly total precipitation fields during 2009. The model's performance and its inherent ability to capture wet events are investigated. We show that this blending method significantly improves upon the satellite-derived estimates and is also competitive in its ability to represent wet events. This procedure also provides a means to estimate a full conditional distribution of the “true” observed precipitation value at each grid cell.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A Bayesian kriging approach for blending satellite and ground precipitation observations
Series title Water Resources Research
DOI 10.1002/2014WR015963
Volume 51
Issue 2
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 14 p.
First page 908
Last page 921
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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