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A Comparison of TRMM Microwave Techniques for Detecting the Diurnal Rainfall Cycle

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  • 1 ADAS, Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
  • | 2 School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • | 3 Department of Geography, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
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Abstract

This paper uses rainfall estimates retrieved from active and passive microwave data to investigate how spatially and temporally dependent algorithm biases affect the monitoring of the diurnal rainfall cycle. Microwave estimates used in this study are from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and include the precipitation radar (PR) near-surface (2A25), Goddard Profiling (GPROF) (2A12), and PR–TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) (2B31) rain rates from the version 5 (v5) 3G68 product. A rainfall maximum is observed early evening over land, while oceans generally show a minimum in rainfall during the morning. Comparisons of annual and seasonal mean hourly rain rates and harmonics at both global and regional scales show significant differences between the algorithms. Relative and absolute biases over land vary according to the time of day. Clearly, these retrieval biases need accounting for, either in the physics of the algorithm or through the provision of accurate error estimates, to avoid erroneous climatic signals and the discrediting of satellite rainfall estimations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Victoria Sanderson, ADAS, Woodthorne, Wergs Road, Wolverhampton WV6 8TQ, United Kingdom. Email: victoria.sanderson@adas.co.uk

Abstract

This paper uses rainfall estimates retrieved from active and passive microwave data to investigate how spatially and temporally dependent algorithm biases affect the monitoring of the diurnal rainfall cycle. Microwave estimates used in this study are from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and include the precipitation radar (PR) near-surface (2A25), Goddard Profiling (GPROF) (2A12), and PR–TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) (2B31) rain rates from the version 5 (v5) 3G68 product. A rainfall maximum is observed early evening over land, while oceans generally show a minimum in rainfall during the morning. Comparisons of annual and seasonal mean hourly rain rates and harmonics at both global and regional scales show significant differences between the algorithms. Relative and absolute biases over land vary according to the time of day. Clearly, these retrieval biases need accounting for, either in the physics of the algorithm or through the provision of accurate error estimates, to avoid erroneous climatic signals and the discrediting of satellite rainfall estimations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Victoria Sanderson, ADAS, Woodthorne, Wergs Road, Wolverhampton WV6 8TQ, United Kingdom. Email: victoria.sanderson@adas.co.uk

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