Assessing sampling and retrieval errors of GPROF precipitation estimates over the Netherlands

Linda Bogerd*, Hidde Leijnse, Aart Overeem, Remko Uijlenhoet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Goddard Profiling algorithm (GPROF) converts radiometer observations from Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) constellation satellites into precipitation estimates. Typically, high-quality ground-based estimates serve as reference to evaluate GPROF's performance. To provide a fair comparison, the ground-based estimates are often spatially aligned to GPROF. However, GPROF combines observations from various sensors and channels, each associated with a distinct footprint. Consequently, uncertainties related to the representativeness of the sampled areas are introduced in addition to the uncertainty when converting brightness temperatures into precipitation intensities. The exact contribution of resampling precipitation estimates, required to spatially and temporally align different resolutions when combining or comparing precipitation observations, to the overall uncertainty remains unknown. Here, we analyze the current performance of GPROF over the Netherlands during a 4-year period (2017-2020) while investigating the uncertainty related to sampling. The latter is done by simulating the reference precipitation as satellite footprints that vary in size, geometry, and applied weighting technique. Only GPROF estimates based on observations from the conical-scanning radiometers of the GPM constellation are used. The reference estimates are gauge-adjusted radar precipitation estimates from two ground-based weather radars from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI). Echo top heights (ETHs) retrieved from the same radars are used to classify the precipitation as shallow, medium, or deep. Spatial averaging methods (Gaussian weighting vs. arithmetic mean) minimally affect the magnitude of the precipitation estimates. Footprint size has a higher impact but cannot explain all discrepancies between the ground- and satellite-based estimates. Additionally, the discrepancies between GPROF and the reference are largest for low ETHs, while the relative bias between the different footprint sizes and implemented weighting methods increase with increasing ETHs. Lastly, our results do not show a clear difference between coastal and land simulations. We conclude that the uncertainty introduced by merging different channels and sensors cannot fully explain the discrepancies between satellite- and ground-based precipitation estimates. Hence, uncertainties related to the retrieval algorithm and environmental conditions are found to be more prominent than resampling uncertainties, in particular for shallow and light precipitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-259
Number of pages13
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2024


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing sampling and retrieval errors of GPROF precipitation estimates over the Netherlands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this