Precipitation Merging Based on the Triple Collocation Method across Mainland China

Feng Lyu, Guoqiang Tang, Ali Behrangi, Tsechun Wang, Xiao Tan, Ziqiang Ma, Wentao Xiong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Triple collocation (TC) is a novel method for quantifying the uncertainties of three data sets with mutually independent errors and has been widely used over different geographical fields. Researches in recent years report that TC shows potential in merging multiple data sets from different sources, while the TC-based merging method has not been used over precipitation. Using the TC formulation, this study merges precipitation from the Climate Prediction Center's morphing technique (CMORPH), Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information using Artificial Neural Networks (PERSIANN), and the fifth-generation European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA5). The interim ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) is also involved to act as the substitute of ERA5 in some specific experiments for quality comparison between them. Merged data sets are produced at 0.25^{circ } times 0.25^{circ } and daily resolutions from March 2000 to December 2013 over Mainland China, using ground observations from more than 2000 rain gauges as the validation benchmark. First, the effectiveness of the TC-based method for precipitation merging is assessed. Then, two weighting methods using root-mean-square error (RMSE) in logarithmic scale (log-RMSE) and modified scale (mod-RMSE) are compared because previous studies show that mod-RMSE is more suitable for characterizing errors within estimated data. Meanwhile, two merging strategies are designed, that is, merging rainfall and snowfall separately (RS) and merging precipitation directly (P). The results show that 1) all the merged products are superior to any input product which proves that the TC method is effective in precipitation merging; 2) TC-based merging generally has a better performance than dynamic Bayesian model averaging (DBMA)-based merging; 3) mod-RMSE shows worse performance in weight estimation than log-RMSE because mod-RMSE will deteriorate the impact of the underestimated inputs; and 4) RS-based merging is superior to P-based merging, and the superiority is particularly notable in winter. The RS strategy will be very helpful in improving the accuracy of precipitation estimates in cold climate such as over mountainous and high-altitude regions. Finally, the limitations of the TC method and potential solutions are discussed. This study demonstrates the great potential of the TC-based merging method in precipitation and provides insights into its application and development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9145822
Pages (from-to)3161-3176
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • China
  • merging
  • precipitation
  • snowfall
  • triple collocation (TC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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