HOAPS and ERA-Interim precipitation over the sea: validation against shipboard in situ measurements
Abstract. The satellite-derived HOAPS (Hamburg Ocean Atmosphere Parameters and Fluxes from Satellite Data) and ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) ERA-Interim reanalysis data sets have been validated against in situ precipitation measurements from ship rain gauges and optical disdrometers over the open ocean by applying a statistical analysis for binary estimates. For this purpose collocated pairs of data were merged within a certain temporal and spatial threshold into single events, according to the satellites' overpass, the observation and the ERA-Interim times. HOAPS detects the frequency of precipitation well, while ERA-Interim strongly overestimates it, especially in the tropics and subtropics. Although precipitation rates are difficult to compare because along-track point measurements are collocated with areal estimates and the number of available data are limited, we find that HOAPS underestimates precipitation rates, while ERA-Interim's Atlantic-wide average precipitation rate is close to measurements. However, when regionally averaged over latitudinal belts, deviations between the observed mean precipitation rates and ERA-Interim exist. The most obvious ERA-Interim feature is an overestimation of precipitation in the area of the intertropical convergence zone and the southern subtropics over the Atlantic Ocean. For a limited number of snow measurements by optical disdrometers, it can be concluded that both HOAPS and ERA-Interim are suitable for detecting the occurrence of solid precipitation.