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gpcplogo.jpg (22926 bytes)Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP)

One of the major goals of GPCP is to develop a more complete understanding of the spatial and temporal patterns of global precipitation. Data from over 6,000 rain gauge stations, and satellite geostationary and low-orbit infrared, passive microwave, and sounding observations have been merged to estimate monthly rainfall on a 2.5-degree global grid from 1979 to the present. The careful combination of satellite-based rainfall estimates provides the most complete analysis of rainfall available to date over the global oceans, and adds necessary spatial detail to the rainfall analyses over land. In addition to the combination of these data sets, estimates of the uncertainties in the rainfall analysis are provided as a part of the GPCP products. Click here to learn more about GPCP data products and how to access them.

The GPCP data have already been found capable of revealing changes in observed precipitation on seasonal to interannual time scales and in validating model generated precipitation from re-analysis systems, such as those from NCEP/NCAR and ECMWF. GPCP also offers the potential for studying changes in the distribution of precipitation at longer time scales such as predicted by GCM simulations, especially in the pattern change over previously data-sparse ocean areas. GPCP estimates can validate both the magnitude and the spatial pattern of modeled rainfall to within the estimated error of the observations. However, realization of the full potential for the GPCP to provide precipitation estimates for climate change studies, especially over the oceans, requires further research and development. Specifically, investigation of inhomogeneities in the GPCP satellite component data sets, and enhanced calibration and validation efforts, especially over open oceans, are required.

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For more information:

GPCP Data Products (NCDC)

GPCP Data Products (GSFC)

Assessment of Global Precipitation Products (May 2008)



GPCP Point of Contact

Dr. Robert Adler
Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC)
University of Maryland
College Park, MD