Applications of Dynamic Land Surface Information for Passive Microwave Precipitation Retrieval

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  • 1 Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  • 2 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD
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Abstract

Accurate, physically-based precipitation retrieval over global land surfaces is an important goal of the NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM). This is a difficult problem for the passive microwave constellation, as the signal over radiometrically warm land surfaces in the microwave frequencies means that the measurements used are indirect, and typically require inferring some type of relationship between an observed scattering signal and precipitation at the surface. GPM, with collocated radiometer and dual-frequency radar, is an excellent tool for tackling this problem and improving global retrievals.

In the years following the launch of the GPM core satellite, physically-based passive microwave retrieval of precipitation over land continues to be challenging. Validation efforts suggest that the operational GPM passive microwave algorithm, the Goddard Profiling Algorithm (GPROF) tends to overestimate precipitation at the low (< 5 mm/h) end of the distribution over land. In this work, retrieval sensitivities to dynamic surface conditions are explored through enhancement of the algorithm with dynamic, retrieved information from a GPM-derived optimal estimation scheme. The retrieved parameters describing surface and background characteristics replace current static or ancillary GPROF information including emissivity, water vapor, and snow cover. Results show that adding this information decreases probability of false detection by 50% and, most importantly, the enhancements with retrieved parameters move the retrieval away from dependence on ancillary datasets and lead to improved physical consistency.

Corresponding author contact: sarah.e.ringerud@nasa.gov

This article is included in the 12th International Precipitation Conference (IPC12) Special Collection.

Abstract

Accurate, physically-based precipitation retrieval over global land surfaces is an important goal of the NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM). This is a difficult problem for the passive microwave constellation, as the signal over radiometrically warm land surfaces in the microwave frequencies means that the measurements used are indirect, and typically require inferring some type of relationship between an observed scattering signal and precipitation at the surface. GPM, with collocated radiometer and dual-frequency radar, is an excellent tool for tackling this problem and improving global retrievals.

In the years following the launch of the GPM core satellite, physically-based passive microwave retrieval of precipitation over land continues to be challenging. Validation efforts suggest that the operational GPM passive microwave algorithm, the Goddard Profiling Algorithm (GPROF) tends to overestimate precipitation at the low (< 5 mm/h) end of the distribution over land. In this work, retrieval sensitivities to dynamic surface conditions are explored through enhancement of the algorithm with dynamic, retrieved information from a GPM-derived optimal estimation scheme. The retrieved parameters describing surface and background characteristics replace current static or ancillary GPROF information including emissivity, water vapor, and snow cover. Results show that adding this information decreases probability of false detection by 50% and, most importantly, the enhancements with retrieved parameters move the retrieval away from dependence on ancillary datasets and lead to improved physical consistency.

Corresponding author contact: sarah.e.ringerud@nasa.gov

This article is included in the 12th International Precipitation Conference (IPC12) Special Collection.

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