The Improved AMSU Rain-Rate Algorithm and Its Evaluation for a Cool Season Event in the Western United States

Shuang Qiu QSS Group, Inc., Lanham, Maryland

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Paul Pellegrino QSS Group, Inc., Lanham, Maryland

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Ralph Ferraro NOAA/NESDIS, College Park, Maryland

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Limin Zhao NOAA/NESDIS, Suitland, Maryland

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Abstract

Rain-rate retrievals from passive microwave sensors are useful for a number of applications related to weather forecasting. For example, in the United States, such estimates are useful for offshore rainfall systems approaching land and in regions where the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) network is inadequate. Improvements have been made to the rain-rate retrieval from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) on board the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POESs). The new features of the improved rain-rate algorithm include a two-stream correction of the satellite brightness temperatures at 89 and 150 GHz, cloud- and rain-type classification for better retrieval of rain rate, and removal of the two ad hoc thresholds in the ice water path (IWP) and effective diameter (De) retrieval where the scattering signals are very small. In this paper, the new algorithm has been compared to the previous NOAA operational algorithm. In particular, the better utilization of the measurements at and above 150 GHz is shown to produce improved sensitivity to light rainfall associated with winter season storm systems. This improvement is demonstrated through a wintertime case study over southern California during February 2003.

Corresponding author address: Shuang Qiu, NOAA/NESDIS, 5200 Auth Rd., Rm. 810, Camp Springs, MD 20746. Email: Shuang.Qiu@noaa.gov

Abstract

Rain-rate retrievals from passive microwave sensors are useful for a number of applications related to weather forecasting. For example, in the United States, such estimates are useful for offshore rainfall systems approaching land and in regions where the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) network is inadequate. Improvements have been made to the rain-rate retrieval from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) on board the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POESs). The new features of the improved rain-rate algorithm include a two-stream correction of the satellite brightness temperatures at 89 and 150 GHz, cloud- and rain-type classification for better retrieval of rain rate, and removal of the two ad hoc thresholds in the ice water path (IWP) and effective diameter (De) retrieval where the scattering signals are very small. In this paper, the new algorithm has been compared to the previous NOAA operational algorithm. In particular, the better utilization of the measurements at and above 150 GHz is shown to produce improved sensitivity to light rainfall associated with winter season storm systems. This improvement is demonstrated through a wintertime case study over southern California during February 2003.

Corresponding author address: Shuang Qiu, NOAA/NESDIS, 5200 Auth Rd., Rm. 810, Camp Springs, MD 20746. Email: Shuang.Qiu@noaa.gov

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