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Scientific Publication: Merging with crowdsourced rain gauge data improves pan-European radar precipitation estimates

OpenSense partners, the department R&D Observations and Data technology from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, have published a paper on 14 February 2024 in the Hydrology and Earth System Sciences journal. This paper is available in open access.


Ground-based radar precipitation products typically need adjustment with rain gauge accumulations to achieve a reasonable accuracy. This is certainly the case for the pan-European radar precipitation products. The density of (near) real-time rain gauge accumulations from official networks is often relatively low. Crowdsourced rain gauge networks have a much higher density than conventional ones and are a potentially interesting (complementary) source to merge with radar precipitation accumulations. Here, a 1-year personal weather station (PWS) rain gauge dataset of ∼ 5 min accumulations is obtained from the private company Netatmo over the period 1 September 2019–31 August 2020, which is subjected to quality control using neighbouring PWSs and, after aggregating to 1 h accumulations, using unadjusted radar data. The PWS 1 h gauge accumulations are employed to spatially adjust OPERA radar accumulations, covering 78 % of geographical Europe. The performance of the merged dataset is evaluated against daily and disaggregated 1 h gauge accumulations from weather stations in the European Climate Assessment & Dataset (ECA&D). Results are contrasted to those from an unadjusted OPERA-based radar dataset and from EURADCLIM. The severe average underestimation for daily precipitation of ∼ 28 % from the unadjusted radar dataset diminishes to ∼ 3 % for the merged radar–PWS dataset. A station-based spatial verification shows that the relative bias in 1 h precipitation is still quite variable and suggests stronger underestimations for colder climates. A dedicated evaluation with scatter density plots reveals that the performance is indeed less good for lower temperatures, which points to limitations in observing solid precipitation by PWS gauges. The outcome of this study confirms the potential of crowdsourcing to improve radar precipitation products in (near) real time.


Title: Merging with crowdsourced rain gauge data improves pan-European radar precipitation estimates
Authors: Aart Overeem, Hidde Leijnse, Gerard van der Schrier, Else van den Besselaar, Irene Garcia-Marti, and Lotte Wilhelmina de Vos
Cite as: Overeem, A., Leijnse, H., van der Schrier, G., van den Besselaar, E., Garcia-Marti, I., and de Vos, L. W.: Merging with crowdsourced rain gauge data improves pan-European radar precipitation estimates, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 28, 649–668,, 2024.


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