Articles | Volume 18, issue 7
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2559–2576, 2014
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2559–2576, 2014

Research article 10 Jul 2014

Research article | 10 Jul 2014

A statistical approach for rain intensity differentiation using Meteosat Second Generation–Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager observations

E. Ricciardelli1, D. Cimini1,2, F. Di Paola1, F. Romano1, and M. Viggiano1 E. Ricciardelli et al.
  • 1National Research Council of Italy – Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis, c. da S. Loja, 85050 Potenza, Italy
  • 2CETEMPS, University of L'Aquila, via Vetoio 1, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy

Abstract. This study exploits the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG)–Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) observations to evaluate the rain class at high spatial and temporal resolutions and, to this aim, proposes the Rain Class Evaluation from Infrared and Visible observation (RainCEIV) technique. RainCEIV is composed of two modules: a cloud classification algorithm which individuates and characterizes the cloudy pixels, and a supervised classifier that delineates the rainy areas according to the three rainfall intensity classes, the non-rainy (rain rate value < 0.5 mm h-1) class, the light-to-moderate rainy class (0.5 mm h−1 ≤ rain rate value < 4 mm h-1), and the heavy–to-very-heavy-rainy class (rain rate value ≥ 4 mm h-1). The second module considers as input the spectral and textural features of the infrared and visible SEVIRI observations for the cloudy pixels detected by the first module. It also takes the temporal differences of the brightness temperatures linked to the SEVIRI water vapour channels as indicative of the atmospheric instability strongly related to the occurrence of rainfall events.

The rainfall rates used in the training phase are obtained through the Precipitation Estimation at Microwave frequencies, PEMW (an algorithm for rain rate retrievals based on Atmospheric Microwave Sounder Unit (AMSU)-B observations). RainCEIV's principal aim is that of supplying preliminary qualitative information on the rainy areas within the Mediterranean Basin where there is no radar network coverage. The results of RainCEIV have been validated against radar-derived rainfall measurements from the Italian Operational Weather Radar Network for some case studies limited to the Mediterranean area. The dichotomous assessment related to daytime (nighttime) validation shows that RainCEIV is able to detect rainy/non-rainy areas with an accuracy of about 97% (96%), and when all the rainy classes are considered, it shows a Heidke skill score of 67% (62%), a bias score of 1.36 (1.58), and a probability of detection of rainy areas of 81% (81%).