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What can we know about recent past precipitation over Africa? Daily characteristics of African precipitation from a large ensemble of observational products for model evaluation

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We assess the daily characteristics of recent past precipitation over Africa by means of a large ensemble of observational products, including reanalysis, gauge-based and satellite-based products. The spatial distribution of seasonal mean precipitation varies considerably amongst products especially over areas where gauge networks are sparse. Large uncertainties in the annual precipitation cycle are visible in particular over the Ethiopian Highlands, the eastern Sahel, the coasts of the gulf of Guinea and the Horn of Africa. Interannual variability shows large differences especially amongst reanalysis datasets whereas satellite and gauge based products usually show more consistent results.