Articles | Volume 5, issue 1
21 Feb 2013
 | 21 Feb 2013

A description of the global land-surface precipitation data products of the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre with sample applications including centennial (trend) analysis from 1901–present

A. Becker, P. Finger, A. Meyer-Christoffer, B. Rudolf, K. Schamm, U. Schneider, and M. Ziese

Abstract. The availability of highly accessible and reliable monthly gridded data sets of global land-surface precipitation is a need that was already identified in the mid-1980s when there was a complete lack of globally homogeneous gauge-based precipitation analyses. Since 1989, the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) has built up its unique capacity to assemble, quality assure, and analyse rain gauge data gathered from all over the world. The resulting database has exceeded 200 yr in temporal coverage and has acquired data from more than 85 000 stations worldwide. Based on this database, this paper provides the reference publication for the four globally gridded monthly precipitation products of the GPCC, covering a 111-yr analysis period from 1901–present. As required for a reference publication, the content of the product portfolio, as well as the underlying methodologies to process and interpolate are detailed. Moreover, we provide information on the systematic and statistical errors associated with the data products. Finally, sample applications provide potential users of GPCC data products with suitable advice on capabilities and constraints of the gridded data sets. In doing so, the capabilities to access El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) sensitive precipitation regions and to perform trend analyses across the past 110 yr are demonstrated. The four gridded products, i.e. the Climatology (CLIM) V2011, the Full Data Reanalysis (FD) V6, the Monitoring Product (MP) V4, and the First Guess Product (FG), are publicly available on easily accessible latitude/longitude grids encoded in zipped clear text ASCII files for subsequent visualization and download through the GPCC download gate hosted on by the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), Offenbach, Germany. Depending on the product, four (0.25°, 0.5°, 1.0°, 2.5° for CLIM), three (0.5°, 1.0°, 2.5°, for FD), two (1.0°, 2.5° for MP) or one (1.0° for FG) resolution is provided, and for each product a DOI reference is provided allowing for public user access to the products. A preliminary description of the scope of a fifth product – the Homogenized Precipitation Analysis (HOMPRA) – is also provided. Its comprehensive description will be submitted later in an extra paper upon completion of this data product. DOIs of the gridded data sets examined are as follows: