Satellite precipitation estimates (SPE), characterized by high spatial-temporal resolution, have been increasingly applied to hydrological modeling. However, the errors and bias inherent in SPE are broadly recognized. Yet, it remains unclear to what extent input uncertainty in hydrological models driven by SPE contributes to the total prediction uncertainty, resulting from difficulties in uncertainty partitioning. This study comprehensively quantified the input uncertainty contribution of three precipitation inputs (Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) near-real-time 3B42RTv7 product, TRMM post-real-time 3B42v7 product and gauge-based precipitation) in rainfall-runoff simulation, using two hydrological models, the lumped daily Ge´nie Rural (GR) and distributed Coupled Routing and Excess STorage (CREST) models. For this purpose, the variance decomposition method was applied to disaggregate the total streamflow modeling uncertainty into seven components (uncertainties in model input, parameter, structure and their three first-order interaction effects, and residual error). The results showed that the total uncertainty in GR was lowest, moderate and highest when forced by gauge precipitation, 3B42v7 and 3B42RTv7, respectively. While the total uncertainty in CREST driven by 3B42v7 was lowest among the three input data sources. These results highlighted the superiority of post-real-time 3B42v7 in hydrological modeling as compared to real-time 3B42RTv7. All the input uncertainties in CREST driven by 3B42v7, 3B42RTv7 and gauge-based precipitation were lower than those in GR correspondingly. In addition, the input uncertainty was lowest in 3B42v7-driven CREST model while highest in gauge precipitation-driven GR model among the six combination schemes (two models combined with three precipitation inputs abovementioned). The distributed CREST model was capable of making better use of the spatial distribution advantage of SPE especially for the TRMM post-real-time 3B42v7 product. This study provided new insights into the SPE’s hydrological utility in the context of uncertainty, being significant for improving the suitability and adequacy of SPE to hydrological application.
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