Nine satellite rainfall estimations (SREs) were evaluated for the first time over the South American Andean plateau watershed by comparison with rain gauge data acquired between 2005 and 2007. The comparisons were carried out at the annual, monthly and daily time steps. All SREs reproduce the salient pattern of the annual rain field, with a marked north–south gradient and a lighter east–west gradient. However, the intensity of the gradient differs among SREs: it is well marked in the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis 3B42 (TMPA-3B42), Precipitation Estimation from remotely Sensed Information using Artificial Neural Networks (PERSIANN) and Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP) products, and it is smoothed out in the Climate prediction center MORPHing (CMORPH) products. Another interesting difference among products is the contrast in rainfall amounts between the water surfaces (Lake Titicaca) and the surrounding land. Some products (TMPA-3B42, PERSIANN and GSMaP) show a contradictory rainfall deficit over Lake Titicaca, which may be due to the emissivity contrast between the lake and the surrounding lands and warm rain cloud processes. An analysis differentiating coastal Lake Titicaca from inland pixels confirmed this trend. The raw or Real Time (RT) products have strong biases over the study region. These biases are strongly positive for PERSIANN (above 90%), moderately positive for TMPA-3B42 (28%), strongly negative for CMORPH (− 42%) and moderately negative for GSMaP (− 18%). The biases are associated with a deformation of the rain rate frequency distribution: GSMaP underestimates the proportion of rainfall events for all rain rates; CMORPH overestimates the proportion of rain rates below 2 mm day − 1 ; and the other products tend to overestimate the proportion of moderate to high rain rates. These biases are greatly reduced by the gauge adjustment in the TMPA-3B42, PERSIANN and CMORPH products, whereas a negative bias becomes positive for GSMaP. TMPA-3B42 Adjusted (Adj) version 7 demonstrates the best overall agreement with gauges in terms of correlation, rain rate distribution and bias. However, PERSIANN-Adj's bias in the southern part of the domain is very low.
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© 2015 Elsevier B.V.