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J Indian Soc Remote Sens (March 2012) 40(1):6574 DOI 10.



Rainfall Estimation from Combined Observations Using KALPANA-IR and TRMM- Precipitation Radar Measurements over Indian Region
Anoop Kumar Mishra & Rakesh M. Gairola & Vijay K. Agarwal

Received: 3 May 2010 / Accepted: 24 May 2011 / Published online: 25 June 2011 # Indian Society of Remote Sensing 2011

Abstract In the present study an attempt has been made to improve the rainfall estimation technique developed recently by Mishra et al. (2009a, 2009b) based on KALPANA and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM)-Precipitation Radar (PR) data over the Indian land and oceanic region. The algorithm for rainfall estimation was basically based on synergistically analyzing the thermal infra-red radiances from Kalpana/INSAT data along with the high resolution, horizontal and vertical rainfall estimates from PR. Presently the augmentation is based on the data base of precipitable water and relative humidity from National Centre for Environmental Prediction-Global forecast System (NCEP-GFS) data as a background field to correct for the biases in earlier algorithm. The algorithm is tested for many case studies of monsoon

rainfall over India and adjoining oceanic regions. The rainfall from the present scheme is compared with the standard TRMM-3B42 rain product. The validation with the Automatic Weather Station (AWS) rain gauge and the Global Precipitation and Climatology Project (GPCP) version 2 rain products shows that the present scheme is able to retrieve the rainfall with a very good accuracy. These studies are aimed at the rainfall retrievals in near future from both INSAT-3D and MeghaTropiques, IR and MW imagers respectively. Keywords Meteorology . Precipitation . Tropics . Passive microwave . Satellite

A. K. Mishra (*) Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), 457-4, Kamigamo-Motoyama, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8047, Japan e-mail: R. M. Gairola : V. K. Agarwal Oceanic Sciences Division, Meteorology and Oceanography Group, Space Applications CentreISRO, Ahmedabad 380 015, India R. M. Gairola e-mail: V. K. Agarwal e-mail:

The spaceborne measurement and monitoring of rainfall is a topic of major interest since it influences the global hydrological cycle and the nature of climate variability. Geostationary weather satellite visible (VIS) and infrared (IR) imagers provide the rapid temporal update cycle needed to capture the growth and decay of precipitating clouds. Many empirical techniques for the rainfall estimation were developed based on the relationship between the cloud brightness temperature and the rainfall (Martin and Scherer (1973)). In the most widely employed technique data from the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) Atlantic Tropical Experiment,


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Arkin (1979) found high correlations between areal coverage of cold cloud (equivalent black body temperature less than thresholds ranging from 225 to 255 K) and 6-h rainfall. Richards and Arkin (1981) demonstrated that these correlations improved with increasing spatial and temporal averaging scales up to 2.5 and 24 h. These results suggested a highly linear relationship between thresholds cold cloud amount and climatic-scale rainfall over tropical oceans. Based on these results, Arkin and Meisner (1987) developed the GOES Precipitation Index (GPI) as a rainfall estimation method. Due to the lack of any direct information on rainrates beneath precipitating clouds further errors are introduced. The relationships between IR derived cloud indices and rainfall are variable in both space and time. Microwave measurements of the precipitation on the other hand provide direct and accurate rainfall estimation but these suffer from the poor resolutions. Mishra et al. (2009a, b) used scattering index approach from microwave observations to estimate rainfall over Indian tropics. Over the last few years, a number of groups have embarked on development of so-called hybrid techniques wherein the advantages of geosynchronous VHRR viz. Vast coverage and near sufficient spacetime sapling, and polar passive microwave radiometers (Adler et al. 1994; Jobard and Desbois 1994). Mishra et al. (2010) estimated rainfall by merging the infrared and microwave observations from Meteosat and PR respectively. Different forms of combined IRMW techniques have been devised to exploit the individual strengths of the IR and the MW observations. Adler et al. (1993) modified the GPI and the convective-stratiform technique (Adler and Negri 1988) rain-rate values by comparing the IR results with that of an 85 GHz based (scattering based) algorithm over monthly timescales. This work was extended to multisensor combined precipitation techniques employed by the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) (Huffman et al. 1997, 2001), which combined estimates by using weights based upon error estimates assigned to the individual components derived from monthly rainfall products. Kummerow and Giglio (1995) tested fixed IR/ variable rain rate and variable IR/fixed rain rate techniques over the Pacific atolls, again based upon monthly relationships. Adler et al. (1994) developed a technique called Adjusted GPI (AGPI) in which a correction factor is derived from the comparison

analysis of passive microwave (PMW) and GPI estimates for coincident time period. The universally Adjusted GPI (UAGPI), described by Xu et al. (1999) used the scattering index of Ferraro and Marks (1995) to produce an optimal rain/no-rain threshold and optimal conditional rain rate rates in order to reduce the total error between the IR-based and PM-based rainfall estimates. Kidd (1999) described the calibration of the IR temperatures over the AIP-3 region while Todd et al. (2001) generated calibrations over Africa using a moving 11 window to generate 0.250.25 calibrations. Use of neural networks to combine IR and PM data was explored by Sorooshian et al. (2000) and Bellerby et al. (2000) using a combination of GOES-IR and TRMM data. Bellerby et al. (2000) took four channels of GOES data together with temporal information in order to take advantage of spectral and temporal information. Ba and Gruber (2001) developed a technique called GOES Multi Spectral Rainfall Algorithm (GMSRA) in which a multispectral approach to optimize the identification of raining clouds was used. Kuligowski (2002) developed a technique called Self-Calibrate Multivariate Precipitation Retrieval (SCaMPR), which selects an optimal predictor for separating raining and non-raining pixels from GOES, calibrates it to the raining and non-raining areas from a SSM/I algorithm, and then selects an optimal rain rate predictor and calibrates it to the SSM/I rain rate for raining pixel via linear regression. Gairola and Krishnamurti (1992) analyzed the SSM/I and OLR derived rainfall with raingauge data and integrated IR and MW measurements of precipitation. Gairola et al. (2005) further developed algorithm for combined active and passive measurements of rainfall from TOPEX/POSEIDON radar altimeter and radiometric measurements. Recently Mishra et al. (2009a, b) studied the intense rainfall over the India using synergy from Kalpana-IR and PR-Microwave observations. It is observed that rainfall is overestimated in the dry environment and underestimated in moist conditions because the falling raindrops evaporate before arriving at the surface under dry atmospheric conditions and tend to grow in size under the moist atmosphere (Vicente et al. 1998). Thus the moisture content below the clouds in the atmosphere influences the rain retrieval from IR measurements based on cloud top temperature. In the present study an attempt has been made to improve the rainfall estimation from the

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synergy of Kalpana-IR and PR-microwave observations by the application of the environmental moisture correction factor over the Indian land and Oceanic regions. Comparisons of rainfall from the present approach have been done using standard TRMM-3B42 rain product. Further validation using AWS rain gauge and GPCP version 2 rain products have been attempted.

used. This time of forecast has been used due to two main reasons; 1) the forecast gradually deteriorates after longer hour forecast. 2) this is a sufficient turn around time to incorporate the forecast in real time rainfall estimation for the operational purpose in the area of study. In the present study the model data during 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 is used. Automatic Weather Station (AWS) Rain Gauge Data

Data Sources Kalpana Data Kalpana satellite carries onboard a Very High Resolution Radiometer (VHRR) along with other instruments. This sensor operates in three wavelengths band namely VIS, TIR, and Water Vapor (WV). In WV and TIR bands, the spatial resolution is 8 Km where as in VIS band spatial resolution is 2 Km. The VHRR frequency bands are given below: a) Thermal IR band-TIR: 10.512.5 m b) Visible band-VIS: 0.550.75 m c) Water vapor band-WV: 5.77.1 m The details of the Kalpana satellite is given by Kaila et al. (2002). In the present study we used the Kalpana-IR data during 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. TRMM Data In the present study we use the data from Precipitation Radar (2A25) (Iguchi et al. 1998), onboard TRMM and a merged IR and MW data product called 3B42 (Huffman et al. 2007). For the present study the PR-2A25 data during 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 is used for the calibration with the Kalpana brightness temperature. For the intercomparison of the rainfall from the present technique the TRMM 3B42 data during 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 is used. Model Data Model forecast from the National Centre for Environmental Prediction-Global forecast System (NCEPGFS) which is available in 11 grids have been used for environmental correction. For the present study 6-h forecast data consisting of atmospheric column relative humidity and precipitable water are The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) designed AWS is as a very compact, modular, rugged, powerful and low-cost system housed in a portable, self contained package. The point measurements by AWS rain gauges are averaged within 1.01.0 grids similar to the resolution achieved by present technique. ISRO AWS distribution over India is shown in Fig. 1. More details are given in Vashistha and Srivastava (2000). For validation purpose, AWS rain gauge data during 2007 and 2008 is used. GPCP Monthly Data The Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) is the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) international project devoted to produce community analyses of global precipitation. Version 1 of the GPCP Monthly data set was described by Huffman et al. (1997). In the present study Version 2

Fig. 1 ISRO AWS map distribution over the Indian region


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GPCP monthly data (Adler et al. 2003) product of daily rainfall rate for March and July 2008 is used for the quantitative comparison with the present technique. This globally complete monthly analysis of surface precipitation at 2.5 latitude2.5 longitude resolution is available from January 1979 to the present, with a delay of 2 to 3 months for data reception and processing.

Methodology Rainfall Rate Using Regression Analysis In the first step, the precipitation rates from TIR TBs are derived using a power-law fit between instantaneous PR derived rainfall estimates and satellite measurements of the IR TBs at cloud top. This is carried out by collocating Kalpana IR TBs from the cloud tops with PR derived rain rates in 0.250.25 grid boxes over the Indian land and oceanic regions (20S-40N and 50E-120E) during July2006 and June2007. After analyzing many convective systems over several days during July 2006 and June 2007, 1,364 collocated and con-current grids consisting of IR Cloud tops temperature and corresponding instantaneous PR rainfall rate estimates were collocated from 14 pairs of observations (during pre-monsoon, monsoon and post monsoon). This data set was used by Mishra et al. (2009a, b) to compute the regression between the mean precipitation radar derived rainfall rate and IR-TB and the curve is given in the Fig. 2 and the curve representing the regression fit was found to be of following form:
R 4:47804 expTB194:219=28:5426

Fig. 2 Scatter plot between Kalpana brightness temp and RADAR rainfall

proposed the use of environmental moisture correction factor defined as the product of Precipitable Water (PW) integrated from the surface to 500-mb with Relative Humidity (RH) (mean values between the surface to 500-mb level) PWRH i.e. PWRH is defined as PWRH PW RH 2

where, R is rain rate in mm/h and TB is cloud top brightness in kelvins. Standard error of estimation of this regression equation is 6.25 mm and the correlation coefficient is 0.72. Moisture Correction Factor In the tropical atmosphere there is tendency to overestimate the rainfall rates in dry environment and under-estimate them under high moisture conditions. This problem is discussed by Scofield (1987), who

The PW and RH are obtained from models or from the reanalysis. We invoked this approach here using data from NCEP-GFS. Precipitable water is expressed in inches whereas the relative humidity is in percentage. Relative humidity is divided by 100 and is then multiplied by precipitable water. The PWRH is empirically scaled from 0.0 to 2.0 (Vicente et al. 1998) and the environment is considered dry if PWRH is significantly below 1.0 and quite moist if PWRH is greater than 1.0. After the multiplication the value obtained (PWRH) is in general between the 0 and 2 (only few cases are with PWRH>2). Beyond some points (i.e. PWRH>=2) the environment is saturated enough to make any further change. The final rainfall is estimated by multiplying the rainfall derived from Eq. 1 with the PWRH factor (Eq. 2) i.e. Final rainfall PWRH R 3

Here PWRH partially account for the difference due to types of clouds making rain in different

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topographical areas. It is also physically realisticas moisture availability further influences rainfall compared to single power law form of the curve in the variable topographic regions.

Results and Discussion The present technique was tested for the Indian land and oceanic regions during Southwest monsoon, premonsoon and post monsoon seasons of 2005, 2006,

2007, and 2008. Rainfall rate is calculated at 11 grid box. The performance of the algorithm is examined by comparison with TRMM-3B42 and GPCP and validation with rain-gauges. Various case studies were undertaken; however, to restrict the number of pages only two of the results will be discussed in the present paper for brevity. The first case study was carried out for the 26th October 2005 at 0000UTC (post monsoon season) based on eight synoptic images par day. Figure 3ad represent the rainfall from the Arkins technique,

Fig. 3 Rainfall rate (mm/h) on 26th October 2005 from a Arkins method b Regression technique c TRMM-3B42 d Present technique


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Regression technique, TRMM-3B42 and present technique respectively on that day over the Indian region. From the TRMM-3B42 observations (Fig. 2c) it is clear that apart from multiple localized systems there were two major convective systems located around 10N/82E and 2N/104E respectively having the rainfall rate in the range of 816 mm and 818 mm respectively. From the observations of the Fig. 3a,b it is clear that both Arkins as well as the regression technique underestimates the rainfall (29 mm and 410 mm respectively), however, the application of the PWRH factor brings the rainfall amount from the present technique closer to that from the TRMM-3B42 observation i.e. in the range of 816 and 818 mm

respectively associated with these mentioned convective systems. Apart from the increment in the rainfall values over the moist areas present technique removes the false rain amount over the dry areas i.e. 40N/105E in Fig. 2b. The final case study was undertaken during the 18th July 2006 at 0300 UTC (S-W monsoon period). During this period the S-W monsoon was very active with a number of intense convective systems present over southern Indian Ocean, and Central Indian region. These convective systems are found to be associated with the heavy rainfall as shown in Fig. 3c. From the observation Fig. 4c (TRMM-3B42), it is clear that there are four major convective systems

Fig. 4 Rainfall rate (mm/h) on 18th July 2006 from a Arkins method b Regression technique c TRMM-3B42 d Present technique

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around the location 1S/62E, 8N/95E, 20N/75E, and 25N/95E each having rainfall values in the range 620 mm, with the maximum rain at the centre. From the observation of the Fig. 4ad it is clear that both Arkins and the regression technique underestimates the rainfall associated with the above mentioned convective systems but the application of the environmental correction factor improves the rainfall values and brings them closer to the TRMM3B42 observations. From the above discussions it is clear that the rainfall from the present technique matches well with that from the TRMM-3B42 over the Indian region after applying the environmental moisture correction factor. For the quantitative assessment of the technique, the Fig. 5ac show the scatter plots of the rainfall from Arkins technique, regression technique, and present technique with rainfall observation of the AWS rain gauge for the Indian region and the Table 1 summarizes the associated statistics. For this validation purpose we have taken 914 data points during the raining spells of 2007 (718 June 2007, 2127 July 2007, 2729 August 2007, and 25 October 2007). We have averaged the data in the grid box of 11 and over whole day (i.e. daily accumulated rainfall). The Fig. 5 show a good number of raining points with high rain values up to 100 mm/day (i.e. daily accumulated rainfall). This is possible after we analyzed a large number of Kalpana images in S-W monsoon period. From the Fig. 5a and the Table 1 it is clear that Arkins technique exhibits a correlation coefficient (R) of 0.57, rms error of 30.31 mm/day, bias of 20.21 mm/day, Probability of Detection of (POD) of 0.62, False Alarm Ration (FAR) of 0.226, and a skill score of 0.12, while the regression technique exhibits a coefficient (R) of 0.65, rms error of 21.42 mm/day, bias of 4.23 mm/day, POD of 0.81, FAR of 0.184, and a skill score of 0.14 with the AWS rain gauge. Further from the Fig. 5c and Table 1, it is observed the rainfall from present technique and the rainfall from raingauge has a correlation coefficient of 0.73, rms error of 19.27 mm/day, the bias of 1.38 mm/day, POD of 0.92, FAR of 0.142, and a skill score of 0.21. It is clear from the above discussions that the present technique is able to retrieve the rainfall with a very good accuracy over the Indian region. Further we have compared the monthly rainfall rate (in mm/day) from present technique with that from the

Fig. 5 Scatter plot between the rainfall (in mm/day) from Raingauge observation with a Arkins technique b Regression technique c Present technique

GPCP at 2.52.5 grid box over the Indian region. Figure 6 shows the statistical comparison between the


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Table 1 Statistical comparison of daily rainfall from the present technique, regression technique, and Arkins technique with the daily rainfall from rain-gauges for the S-W Monsoon period for 11 grid box Technique Total Correlation Root mean Bias Observed Calculated Probability False Alarm Heidke number coefficients square error (mm/day) mean mean of detection Ratio (FAR) Skill of points (mm/day) (mm/day) (mm/day) (POD) Score 914 914 0.73 0.65 0.57 19.27 21.42 30.31 1.38 4.23 20.21 32.12 32.12 32.12 30.74 27.89 11.91 0.92 0.81 0.62 0.142 0.184 0.226 0.21 0.14 0.12

Present technique Arkins technique

Regression technique 914

rainfall from GPCP and the rainfall from the present technique. Total 1,450 data points from 2 months March and July 2008 were considered for this purpose. It is observed that the rainfall from present technique a correlation coefficient of 0.79, root mean square error of 3.42, bias of 1.52, probability of detection (POD) of 0.94, false alarm ratio (FAR) of 0.24, and a skill score of 0.28 with the GPCP. So it is clear that the rain rate from the present technique matches well with that from the GPCP estimates. The approach adopted in the present study of incorporating environmental moisture factor to the rainfall derived from the regression between the PR rainfall and the Kalpana TB offers a very

simple and useful technique for rainfall estimation over the Indian land and oceanic regions for various applications.

Concluding Remarks The present study describes the development rainfall estimation technique over the Indian region for daily rainfall rates at 11 grid. The improved rain rates are derived after multiplying the environmental moisture factor to the rainfall derived from a powerlaw regression relationship between the IR TBs and the PR-rain rates after. Validation and statistical analysis have been performed using ground observations and other satellite rainfall products i.e. TRMM3B42 and GPCP version 2 data. Comparison with the TRMM-3B42 shows that the rainfall from present technique matches well with TRMM-3B42 estimates. Comparison of the present technique with monthly rain product GPCP at 2.52.5 grid box shows that both the estimates are quite close to each other. Further validation using AWS rain-gauge shows that the present technique is able to retrieve the rainfall with better accuracy than Arkins and regression technique over the Indian region. So, the results of inter-satellite comparison of rain products (present technique and TRMM-3B42) and validation with the ground truths clearly shows the improvement in the rainfall estimates from our technique. Although there is very good agreement between rainfall estimates between the present technique and raingauge, its accuracy can possibly be improved further. This includes the development of the regression equation using a larger data base for the land and oceanic region separately and assign-

Fig. 6 Scatter plot between the monthly rain rate from present technique and GPCP observations

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