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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 325718, 15 pages
Research Article

How Well Do Gridded Datasets of Observed Daily Precipitation Compare over Australia?

Climate Change Research Centre and ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, UNSW Australia, Level 4, Mathews Building, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia

Received 31 May 2015; Revised 10 August 2015; Accepted 11 August 2015

Academic Editor: Charles Jones

Copyright © 2015 Steefan Contractor et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Daily gridded precipitation data are needed for investigating spatiotemporal variability of precipitation, including extremes; however, uncertainties related to daily precipitation products are large. Here, we compare a range of precipitation grids for Australia. These datasets include products derived solely from in situ observations (interpolated datasets) and two products that combine both remote sensed data and in situ observations. We find that all precipitation grids have similar climatologies for annual aggregated precipitation totals and annual maximum precipitation. The temporal correlations of daily precipitation values are higher between the interpolated datasets, but the correlations between the most widely used interpolated product (AWAP) and the two remotely sensed products (TRMM and GPCP) are still reasonable. Our results, however, point to distinct structural uncertainties between those datasets gridding in situ observations and those datasets deriving precipitation estimates primarily from satellite measurements. All datasets analysed agree well for low to moderate daily precipitation amounts up to about 20 mm but diverge at upper quantiles, indicating that substantial uncertainty exists in gridded precipitation extremes over Australia.