Thanh-Nhan-Duc Tran, Binh Quang Nguyen, Runze Zhang, Aashutosh Aryal, Maria Grodzka-Łukaszewska, Grzegorz Igor Sinicyn, Venkataraman Lakshmi
Many fields have identified an increasing need to use global satellite precipitation products for hydrological applications, especially in ungauged basins. In this study, we conduct a comprehensive evaluation of three Satellite-based Precipitation Products (SPPs): Integrated Multi–satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) Final run V6, Soil Moisture to Rain (SM2RAIN)-Advanced SCATterometer (ASCAT) V1.5, and Multi-Source Weighted-Ensemble Precipitation (MSWEP) V2.2 for a subbasin of the Mekong River Basin (MRB). The study area of the Srepok River basin (SRB) represents the Central Highland sub-climatic zone in Vietnam under the impacts of newly built reservoirs during 2001–2018. In this study, our evaluation was performed using the Rainfall Assessment Framework (RAF) with two separated parts: (1) an intercomparison of rainfall characteristics between rain gauges and SPPs; and (2) a hydrological comparison of simulated streamflow driven by SPPs and rain gauges. Several key findings are: (1) IMERGF-V6 shows the highest performance compared to other SPP products, followed by SM2RAIN-ASCAT V1.5 and MSWEP V2.2 over assessments in the RAF framework; (2) MSWEP V2.2 shows discrepancies during the dry and wet seasons, exhibiting very low correlation compared to rain gauges when the precipitation intensity is greater than 15 mm/day; (3) SM2RAIN–ASCAT V1.5 is ranked as the second best SPP, after IMERGF-V6, and shows good streamflow simulation, but overestimates the wet seasonal rainfall and underestimates the dry seasonal rainfall, especially when the precipitation intensity is greater than 20 mm/day, suggesting the need for a recalibration and validation of its algorithm; (4) SM2RAIN-ASCAT had the lowest bias score during the dry season, indicating the product’s usefulness for trend analysis and drought detection; and (5) RAF shows good performance to evaluate the performance of SPPs under the impacts of reservoirs, indicating a good framework for use in other similar studies. The results of this study are the first to reveal the performance of MSWEP V2.2 and SM2RAIN-ASCAT V1.5. Additionally, this study proposes a new rainfall assessment framework for a Vietnam basin which could support future studies when selecting suitable products for input into hydrological model simulations in similar regions.