Preliminary utility of the retrospective IMERG precipitation product for large-scale drought monitoring over Mainland China

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This study evaluated the suitability of the latest retrospective Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for Global Precipitation Measurement V06 (IMERG) Final Run product with a relatively long period (beginning from June 2000) for drought monitoring over mainland China. First, the accuracy of IMERG was evaluated by using observed precipitation data from 807 meteorological stations at multiple temporal (daily, monthly, and yearly) and spatial (pointed and regional) scales. Second, the IMERG-based standardized precipitation index (SPI) was validated and analyzed through statistical indicators. Third, a light-extreme-light drought-event process was adopted as the case study to dissect the latent performance of IMERG-based SPI in capturing the spatiotemporal variation of drought events. Our results demonstrated a sufficient consistency and small error of the IMERG precipitation data against the gauge observations with the regional mean correlation coefficient (CC) at the daily (0.7), monthly (0.93), and annual (0.86) scales for mainland China. The IMERG possessed a strong capacity for estimating intra-annual precipitation changes; especially, it performed well at the monthly scale. There was a strong agreement between the IMERG-based SPI values and gauge-based SPI values for drought monitoring in most regions in China (with CCs above 0.8). In contrast, there was a comparatively poorer capability and notably higher heterogeneity in the Xinjiang and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau regions with more widely varying statistical metrics. The IMERG featured the advantage of satisfactory spatiotemporal accuracy in terms of depicting the onset and extinction of representative drought disasters for specific consecutive months. Furthermore, the IMERG has obvious drought monitoring abilities, which was also complemented when compared with the Precipitation Estimation from the Remotely Sensed Information using Artificial Neural Networks Climate Data Record (PERSIANN-CDR), Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS), and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) 3B42V7. The outcomes of this study demonstrate that the retrospective IMERG can provide a more competent data source and potential opportunity for better drought monitoring utility across mainland China, particularly for eastern China.


  • Linyong Wei
  • Shanhu Jiang
  • Liliang Ren
  • Linqi Zhang
  • Menghao Wang
  • Zheng Duan
External organisations
  • Hohai University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources


  • Drought monitoring, Mainland China, Retrospective IMERG, Standardized precipitation index
Original languageEnglish
Article number2993
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sep 2
Publication categoryResearch