Effect of Bias Correction of Satellite-Rainfall Estimates on Runoff Simulations at the Source of the Upper Blue Nile uri icon

abstract

  • Results of numerous evaluation studies indicated that satellite-rainfall products are contaminated with significant systematic and random errors. Therefore, such products may require refinement and correction before being used for hydrologic applications. In the present study, we explore a rainfall-runoff modeling application using the Climate Prediction Center-MORPHing (CMORPH) satellite rainfall product. The study area is the Gilgel Abbay catchment situated at the source basin of the Upper Blue Nile basin in Ethiopia, Eastern Africa. Rain gauge networks in such area are typically sparse. We examine different bias correction schemes applied locally to the CMORPH product. These schemes vary in the degree to which spatial and temporal variability in the CMORPH bias fields are accounted for. Three schemes are tested: space and time-invariant, time-variant and spatially invariant, and space and time variant. Bias-corrected CMORPH products were used to calibrate and drive the Hydrologiska Byrans Vattenbalansavdelning (HBV) rainfall-runoff model. Applying the space and time-fixed bias correction scheme resulted in slight improvement of the CMORPH-driven runoff simulations, but in some instances caused deterioration. Accounting for temporal variation in the bias reduced the rainfall bias by up to 50%. Additional improvements were observed when both the spatial and temporal variability in the bias was accounted for. The rainfall bias was found to have a pronounced effect on model calibration. The calibrated model parameters changed significantly when using rainfall input from gauges alone, uncorrected, and bias-corrected CMORPH estimates. Changes of up to 81% were obtained for model parameters controlling the stream flow volume.
  • Results of numerous evaluation studies indicated that satellite-rainfall products are contaminated with significant systematic and random errors. Therefore, such products may require refinement and correction before being used for hydrologic applications. In the present study, we explore a rainfall-runoff modeling application using the Climate Prediction Center-MORPHing (CMORPH) satellite rainfall product. The study area is the Gilgel Abbay catchment situated at the source basin of the Upper Blue Nile basin in Ethiopia, Eastern Africa. Rain gauge networks in such area are typically sparse. We examine different bias correction schemes applied locally to the CMORPH product. These schemes vary in the degree to which spatial and temporal variability in the CMORPH bias fields are accounted for. Three schemes are tested: space and time-invariant, time-variant and spatially invariant, and space and time variant. Bias-corrected CMORPH products were used to calibrate and drive the Hydrologiska ByrĂ„ns Vattenbalansavdelning (HBV) rainfall-runoff model. Applying the space and time-fixed bias correction scheme resulted in slight improvement of the CMORPH-driven runoff simulations, but in some instances caused deterioration. Accounting for temporal variation in the bias reduced the rainfall bias by up to 50%. Additional improvements were observed when both the spatial and temporal variability in the bias was accounted for. The rainfall bias was found to have a pronounced effect on model calibration. The calibrated model parameters changed significantly when using rainfall input from gauges alone, uncorrected, and bias-corrected CMORPH estimates. Changes of up to 81% were obtained for model parameters controlling the stream flow volume

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014
  • 2014