Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Rainfall Estimation in the Sahel. Part II: Evaluation of Rain Gauge Networks in the CILSS Countries and Objective Intercomparison of Rainfall Products

Abstract : This study investigates the accuracy of various precipitation products for the Sahel. A first set of products is made of three ground-based precipitation estimates elaborated regionally from the gauge data collected by Centre Regional Agrometeorologie–Hydrologie–Meteorologie (AGRHYMET). The second set is made of four global products elaborated by various international data centers. The comparison between these two sets covers the period of 1986–2000. The evaluation of the entire operational network of the Sahelian countries indicates that on average the monthly estimation error for the July–September period is around 12% at a spatial scale of 2.5° × 2.5°. The estimation error increases from south to north and remains below 10% for the area south of 15°N and west of 11°E (representing 42% of the region studied). In the southern Sahel (south of 15°N), the rain gauge density needs to be at least 10 gauges per 2.5° × 2.5° grid cell for a monthly error of less than 10%. In the northern Sahel, this density increases to more than 20 gauges because of the large intermittency of rainfall. In contrast, for other continental regions outside Africa, some authors have found that only five gauges per 2.5° × 2.5° grid cell are needed to give a monthly error of less than 10%. The global products considered in this comparison are the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) merged analysis of precipitation (CMAP), Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP), Global Precipitation Climatology Center (GPCC), and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) precipitation index (GPI). Several methods (scatterplots, distribution comparisons, root-mean-square error, bias, Nash index, significance test for the mean, variance, and distribution function, and the standard deviation approach for the kriging interval) are first used for the intercomparison. All of these methods lead to the same conclusion that CMAP is slightly the better product overall, followed by GPCC, GPCP, and GPI, with large errors for GPI. However, based on the root-mean-square error, it is found that the regional rainfall product obtained from the synoptic network is better than the four global products. Based on the error function developed in a companion paper, an approach is proposed to take into account the uncertainty resulting from the fact that the reference values are not the real ground truth. This method was applied to the most densely sampled region in the Sahel and led to a significant decrease of the raw evaluation errors. The reevaluated error is independent of the gauge references.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadatas
Contributor : Thierry Pellarin <>
Submitted on : Thursday, May 7, 2009 - 10:30:13 AM
Last modification on : Friday, September 25, 2020 - 11:02:44 AM

Links full text




Abdou Ali, Abou Amani, Arona Diedhiou, Thierry Lebel. Rainfall Estimation in the Sahel. Part II: Evaluation of Rain Gauge Networks in the CILSS Countries and Objective Intercomparison of Rainfall Products. Journal of Applied Meteorology, American Meteorological Society, 2005, 44 (11), pp.1702 à 1722. ⟨10.1175/JAM2305.1⟩. ⟨insu-00382037⟩



Record views