Evaluation of three global gridded precipitation data sets in central Asia based on rain gauge observations

Zengyun Hu, Qiming Zhou*, Xi Chen*, Jianfeng Li, Qingxiang Li, Deliang Chen, Wenbin Liu, Gang Yin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


The accuracies of gridded precipitation data sets are important for regional climate studies and hydrological models. In this study, the performances of Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) V7, Climatic Research Unit (CRU) TS 3.22 and Willmott and Matsuura (WM) precipitation data sets were examined over central Asia by comparing them against observed precipitation records (OBS) from 586 meteorological stations during 1901–2010. The results show that all the three gridded data sets underestimated the observed precipitation at annual and monthly scales, especially in mountainous areas. Both GPCC and WM underestimated seasonal precipitation, especially for spring precipitation. Among the three gridded data sets, GPCC had the highest correlation and lowest bias compared with CRU and WM when against the OBS. WM had a higher correlation than that of CRU, and its bias was larger than that of CRU. In terms of the drought and heavy rainfall events, CRU had the best performance in capturing drought events, and GPCC was best at representing heavy rainfall events. These differences in the performances between the three gridded data sets were primarily induced by their different interpolation methods and the numbers of available meteorological stations used in the interpolations of the three gridded data sets. Therefore, compared to the other two data sets, GPCC is more suitable for studies of long-term precipitation variations over central Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3475-3493
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
Issue number9
Early online date1 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Atmospheric Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • central Asia
  • evaluation
  • gridded precipitation data set
  • rain gauge observation


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