Evaluation of six high-resolution satellite and ground-based precipitation products over Malaysia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Satellite precipitation products (SPPs) potentially constitute an alternative to sparse rain gauge networks for assessing the spatial distribution of precipitation. However, applications of these products are still limited due to the lack of robust quality assessment. This study compares daily, monthly, seasonal, and annual rainfall amount at 342 rain gauges over Malaysia to estimations using five SPPs (3B42RT, 3B42V7, GPCP-1DD, PERSIANN-CDR, and CMORPH) and a ground-based precipitation product (APHRODITE). The performance of the precipitation products was evaluated from 2003 to 2007 using continuous (RMSE, R2, ME, MAE, and RB) and categorical (ACC, POD, FAR, CSI, and HSS) statistical approaches. Overall, 3B42V7 and APHRODITE performed the best, while the worst performance was shown by GPCP-1DD. 3B42RT, 3B42V7, and PERSIANN-CDR slightly overestimated observed precipitation by 2%, 4.7%, and 2.1%, respectively. By contrast, APHRODITE and CMORPH significantly underestimated precipitations by 19.7% and 13.2%, respectively, whereas GPCP-1DD only slightly underestimated by 2.8%. All six precipitation products performed better in the northeast monsoon than in the southwest monsoon. The better performances occurred in eastern and southern Peninsular Malaysia and in the north of East Malaysia, which receives higher rainfall during the northeast monsoon, whereas poor performances occurred in the western and dryer Peninsular Malaysia. All precipitation products underestimated the no/tiny (<1 mm/day) and extreme (≥20 mm/day) rainfall events, while they overestimated low (1-20 mm/day) rainfall events. 3B42RT and 3B42V7 showed the best ability to detect precipitation amounts with the highest HSS value (0.36). Precipitations during flood events such as those which occurred in late 2006 and early 2007 were estimated the best by 3B42RT and 3B42V7, as shown by an R2 value ranging from 0.49 to 0.88 and 0.52 to 0.86, respectively. These results on SPPs' uncertainties and their potential controls might allow sensor and algorithm developers to deliver better products for improved rainfall estimation and thus improved water management.


  • Mou Leong Tan
  • Ab Latif Ibrahim
  • Zheng Duan
  • Arthur P. Cracknell
  • Vincent Chaplot
External organisations
  • University of Technology Malaysia (UTM)
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Ninewells Hospital and Medical School
  • Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat : Expérimentations et Approches Numériques
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources


  • APHRODITE, Asia Maritime Continent monsoon, CMORPH, GPCP, Malaysia, PERSIANN, Rainfall, Southeast Asia, TRMM, Validation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1504-1528
Number of pages25
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes