Articles | Volume 21, issue 1
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 169–181, 2017

Special issue: Modeling hydrological processes and changes

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 169–181, 2017

Research article 10 Jan 2017

Research article | 10 Jan 2017

Evaluating the streamflow simulation capability of PERSIANN-CDR daily rainfall products in two river basins on the Tibetan Plateau

Xiaomang Liu1,2, Tiantian Yang2, Koulin Hsu2, Changming Liu1, and Soroosh Sorooshian2 Xiaomang Liu et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Water Cycle & Related Land Surface Process, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100101 Beijing, China
  • 2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Irvine, California, USA

Abstract. On the Tibetan Plateau, the limited ground-based rainfall information owing to a harsh environment has brought great challenges to hydrological studies. Satellite-based rainfall products, which allow for a better coverage than both radar network and rain gauges on the Tibetan Plateau, can be suitable alternatives for studies on investigating the hydrological processes and climate change. In this study, a newly developed daily satellite-based precipitation product, termed Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information Using Artificial Neural Networks – Climate Data Record (PERSIANN-CDR), is used as input for a hydrologic model to simulate streamflow in the upper Yellow and Yangtze River basins on the Tibetan Plateau. The results show that the simulated streamflows using PERSIANN-CDR precipitation and the Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) precipitation are closer to observation than that using limited gauge-based precipitation interpolation in the upper Yangtze River basin. The simulated streamflow using gauge-based precipitation are higher than the streamflow observation during the wet season. In the upper Yellow River basin, gauge-based precipitation, GLDAS precipitation, and PERSIANN-CDR precipitation have similar good performance in simulating streamflow. The evaluation of streamflow simulation capability in this study partly indicates that the PERSIANN-CDR rainfall product has good potential to be a reliable dataset and an alternative information source of a limited gauge network for conducting long-term hydrological and climate studies on the Tibetan Plateau.

Short summary
A long-term, global, high-resolution, satellite-based precipitation estimation database (PERSIANN-CDR) was recently released. We evaluate the streamflow simulation capability of PERSIANN-CDR over two major river basins on the Tibetan Plateau. Results show that PERSIANN-CDR is a good alternative for a sparse gauge network and has the potentials for future hydrological and climate studies. The streamflow uncertainties are due to the hydrological model parameters and the length of calibration data.