Global Precipitation from satellite and gauge measurements (GPCP)


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The Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) data set that was established by the World Climate Research Programme. The general approach was to combine the precipitation information available from each of several sources into a final merged product, taking advantage of the strengths of each data type. This data set was used for many years, currently with daily data in version 1.2 and monthly data in version 2.3.

The sources from which GPCP data are processed are measurements from ground stations and satellite data products. Infrared precipitation estimates are computed primarily from geostationary satellites (GOES - United States, Meteosat - Europe, GMS - Japan), and secondarily from polar-orbiting satellites (by NOAA, US). Additionally a merged set of infrared precipitation estimates by Geostationary Satellite Precipitation Data Center (GPSPDC) is used. Microwave oceanic precipitation estimates are based on emission from 19 Ghz channel and for land precipitation estimates from the 85 Ghz channel of the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (United States) satellites that fly in sun-synchronous low-earth orbits. Low-Earth orbit estimates from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS data from the NASA Aqua), and Television Infrared Observation Satellite Program (TIROS) Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS), and Outgoing Longwave Radiation Precipitation Index (OPI) data from the NOAA series satellites are also included.

Infrared and microwave satellite estimates of precipitation are merged with in situ measurements from rain gauge data from the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre's (GPCC) Monitoring Product of the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), used as land-surface reference for the GPCP Satellite-Gauge Combination. Therfore the combined product includes gauge-bias corrections.

The daily and monthly rainfall data are in the NetCDF format. The monthly data is already available in version 2.3 and is updated every month, whenever the new GPCC Monitoring product is available. In addition to these monthly data there is also an absolute error. The data for the last 6 months may include the interim product, where the data quality is less secure. Please refer to the description of NOAA. For the daily data the version 1.3 is not yet officially released, which is why ICDC still offers the version 1.2. There are no error data given for the daily data.

Last data set update: June 1, 2017.

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Name Unit
Precipitation mm/24h
Abs. error mm/24h

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Coverage, spatial and temporal resolution

Period and temporal resolution:

  • Daily: 01/10/1996 to 31/10/2015
  • Monthly: 01/1979 to ongoing (with ~3 months latency)


Coverage and spatial resolution:

  • Global
  • Spatial resolution: 1° x 1° (daily) and 2.5° x 2.5° (monthly), cartesian grid
  • Geographic longitude: 0°E to 360°E
  • Geographic latitude: -90°N to 90°N
  • Dimension: 360 columns x 180 rows (daily), 144 columns x 72 rows (monthly)
  • Altitude: following terrain


  • NetCDF

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Data quality

Original documentation with data description:

The monthly data contain information about the absolute error. The last months may be interim data, using GPCC interim product. The month from which it is interim data is specified as the NetCDF attribute in the data.

For calibration and validation, the Surface Reference Data Centre ( SRDC) acquires time series of high density gauge data from different climatic regions for long term validation of satellite estimates as well as gridded analyses. Additionally, the Algorithm Intercomparison Programme (AIP) coordinates field campaigns for the validation of satellite algorithms and the development of new algorithms.

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Data Set Curator:

Dr. Jian-Jian Wang
ESSIC, University of Maryland College Park
College Park, MD  20742  USA
Phone: +1 301-405-4887

Name: Annika Jahnke-Bornemann
Institute: ICDC, CEN, Universität Hamburg
Email: annika.jahnke-bornemann (at) uni-hamburg.de

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Results of an extensive quality assessment of precipitation estimates from satellite data over land can be found in:


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Data citation

Monthly Data:

  • Adler, Robert; Wang, Jian-Jian; Sapiano, Matthew; Huffman, George; Chiu, Long; Xie, Ping Ping; Ferraro, Ralph; Schneider, Udo; Becker, Andreas; Bolvin, David; Nelkin, Eric; Gu, Guojun; and NOAA CDR Program (2016). Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) Climate Data Record (CDR), Version 2.3 (Monthly). National Centers for Environmental Information. doi:10.7289/V56971M6 Accessed (fill in date you accessed the data).

Daily Data:

  • Huffman, G. J., D. T. Bolvin, and R. F. Adler. 2016. GPCP Version 1.2 One-Degree Daily Precipitation Data Set. Research Data Archive at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Computational and Information Systems Laboratory. doi.org/10.5065/D6D50K46. Accessed (fill in date you accessed the data).

And please don't forget to mention ICDC at University of Hamburg in your acknowledgments.

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