This study describes the generation and testing of a reference rainfall product created from field campaign datasets collected during the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission Ground Validation Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) experiment. The study evaluates ground-based radar rainfall (RR) products acquired during IFloodS in the context of building the reference rainfall product. The purpose of IFloodS was not only to attain a high-quality ground-based reference for the validation of satellite rainfall estimates but also to enhance understanding of flood-related rainfall processes and the predictability of flood forecasting. We assessed the six RR estimates (IFC, Q2, CSU-DP, NWS-DP, Stage IV, and Q2-Corrected) using data from rain gauge and disdrometer networks that were located in the broader field campaign area of central and northeastern Iowa. We performed the analyses with respect to time scales ranging from 1 h to the entire campaign period in order to compare the capabilities of each RR product and to characterize the error structure at scales that are frequently used in hydrologic applications. The evaluation results show that the Stage IV estimates perform superior to other estimates, demonstrating the need for gauge-based bias corrections of radar-only products. This correction should account for each product's algorithm-dependent error structure that can be used to build unbiased rainfall products for the campaign reference. We characterized the statistical error structures (e.g., systematic and random components) of each RR estimate and used them for the generation of a campaign reference rainfall product. To assess the hydrologic utility of the reference product, we performed hydrologic simulations driven by the reference product over the Turkey River basin. The comparison of hydrologic simulation results demonstrates that the campaign reference product performs better than Stage IV in streamflow generation.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Publication Status

Full Access


National Science Foundation, Grant EAR-1327830

Keywords and Phrases

Field experiments; Hydrology; Hydrometeorology; Remote sensing

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1525-7541; 1525-755X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





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Publication Date

01 Nov 2018