Evaluation of areal monthly average precipitation estimates from merra2 and era5 reanalysis in a colombian caribbean basin

Jean Vega‐durán, Brigitte Escalante‐castro, Fausto A. Canales, Guillermo J. Acuña, Bartosz Kaźmierczak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in an indexed scientific journalpeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Global reanalysis dataset estimations of climate variables constitute an alternative for overcoming data scarcity associated with sparsely and unevenly distributed hydrometeorological networks often found in developing countries. However, reanalysis datasets require detailed validation to determine their accuracy and reliability. This paper evaluates the performance of MERRA2 and ERA5 regarding their monthly rainfall products, comparing their areal precipitation averages with estimates based on ground measurement records from 49 rain gauges managed by the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) and the Thiessen polygons method in the Sinu River basin, Colombia. The performance metrics employed in this research are the correlation coefficient, the bias, the normalized root mean square error (NRMSE), and the Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE). The results show that ERA5 generally outperforms MERRA2 in the study area. However, both reanalyses consistently overestimate the monthly averages calculated from IDEAM records at all time and spatial scales. The negative NSE values indicate that historical monthly averages from IDEAM records are better predictors than both MERRA2 and ERA5 rainfall products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1430
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • ERA 5
  • MERRA 2
  • Rainfall
  • Reanalysis
  • Thiessen polygons

Types Minciencias

  • Artículos de investigación con calidad A2 / Q2


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