Summary: Multisatellite observed responses of precipitation and its extremes
to interannual climate variability
and Richard P. Allan1
Received 15 July 2011; revised 22 November 2011; accepted 22 November 2011; published 1 February 2012.
 The consistency of precipitation variability estimated from the multiple satellite-based
observing systems is assessed. There is generally good agreement between TRMM TMI,
SSM/I, GPCP and AMSRE data sets for the inter-annual variability of precipitation
since 1997 but the HOAPS data set appears to overestimate the magnitude of variability.
Over the tropical ocean the TRMM 3B42 data set produces unrealistic variability.
Based upon deseasonalized GPCP data for the period 19982008, the sensitivity of global
mean precipitation (P) to surface temperature (T) changes (dP/dT) is about 6%/K, although
a smaller sensitivity of 3.6%/K is found using monthly GPCP data over the longer
period 19892008. Over the tropical oceans dP/dT ranges from 10 to 30%/K depending
upon time period and data set while over tropical land dP/dT is À8 to À11%/K for the
19982008 period. Analyzing the response of the tropical ocean precipitation intensity
distribution to changes in T we find the wetter area P shows a strong positive response to
T of around 20%/K. The response over the drier tropical regimes is less coherent and
varies with data sets, but responses over the tropical land show significant negative
relationships over an interannual time-scale. The spatial and temporal resolutions of the