Microwave Atmospheric Temperature Sounding: Effects of Clouds on the Nimbus 5 Satellite Data

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  • 1 Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139
  • | 2 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena 91103
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Abstract

The microwave spectrometer on the Nimbus 5 earth observatory satellite has been used to measure thermal radiation in five frequency bands between 22.235 and 58.8 GHz. Clouds were observed to affect less than 0.5% of the temperature profile soundings. Most such effects occur in the intertropical convergence zone and alter the inferred temperature profile by less than a few degrees Centigrade. These effects are evident as cold spots at 53.65 GHz and can be identified by virtue of their small spatial extent, in contrast to smooth variations characteristic of normal atmospheric temperature fields. These effects at 53.65 GHz are sufficiently well correlated with inferred liquid water abundances that they can be used for detecting major storm systems over both land and sea.

Abstract

The microwave spectrometer on the Nimbus 5 earth observatory satellite has been used to measure thermal radiation in five frequency bands between 22.235 and 58.8 GHz. Clouds were observed to affect less than 0.5% of the temperature profile soundings. Most such effects occur in the intertropical convergence zone and alter the inferred temperature profile by less than a few degrees Centigrade. These effects are evident as cold spots at 53.65 GHz and can be identified by virtue of their small spatial extent, in contrast to smooth variations characteristic of normal atmospheric temperature fields. These effects at 53.65 GHz are sufficiently well correlated with inferred liquid water abundances that they can be used for detecting major storm systems over both land and sea.

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