Evaluation of satellite-based and model re-analysis rainfall estimates for Uganda

R. I. Maidment, D. I.F. Grimes, R. P. Allan, H. Greatrex, O. Rojas, O. Leo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The dependence of much of Africa on rainfed agriculture leads to a high vulnerability to fluctuations in rainfall amount. Hence, accurate monitoring of near-real time rainfall is particularly useful, for example in forewarning of possible crop shortfalls in drought-prone areas. Unfortunately, ground based observations are often inadequate. Rainfall estimates from satellite-based algorithms and numerical model outputs can fill this data gap, however rigorous assessment of such estimates is required. In this case, three satellite based products (NOAA-RFE 2.0, GPCP-1DD and TAMSAT) and two numerical model outputs (ERA-40 and ERA-Interim) have been evaluated for Uganda in East Africa using a network of 27 rain gauges. The study focuses on the years 2001-2005 and considers the main rainy season (February to June). All data sets were converted to the same temporal and spatial scales. Kriging was used for the spatial interpolation of the gauge data. All three satellite products showed similar characteristics and had a high level of skill that exceeded both model outputs. ERA-Interim had a tendency to overestimate whilst ERA-40 consistently underestimated the Ugandan rainfall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-317
Number of pages10
JournalMeteorological Applications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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