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Kenneth D. Leppert II and Daniel J. Cecil

Abstract

Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Microwave Imager (GMI) brightness temperatures (BTs) were simulated over a case of severe convection in Texas using ground-based S-band radar and the Atmospheric Radiative Transfer Simulator. The median particle diameter D o of a normalized gamma distribution was varied for different hydrometeor types under the constraint of fixed radar reflectivity to better understand how simulated GMI BTs respond to changing particle size distribution parameters. In addition, simulations were conducted to assess how low BTs may be expected to reach from realistic (although extreme) particle sizes or concentrations. Results indicate that increasing D o for cloud ice, graupel, and/or hail leads to warmer BTs (i.e., weaker scattering signature) at various frequencies. Channels at 166.0 and 183.31 ± 7 GHz are most sensitive to changing D o of cloud ice, channels at ≥89.0 GHz are most sensitive to changing D o of graupel, and at 18.7 and 36.5 GHz they show the greatest sensitivity to hail D o. Simulations contrasting BTs above high concentrations of small (0.5-cm diameter) and low concentrations of large (20-cm diameter) hailstones distributed evenly across a satellite pixel showed much greater scattering using the higher concentration of smaller hailstones with BTs as low as ~110, ~33, ~22, ~46, ~100, and ~106 K at 10.65, 18.7, 36.5, 89.0, 166.0, and 183.31 ± 7 GHz, respectively. These results suggest that number concentration is more important for scattering than particle size given a constant S-band radar reflectivity.

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Paloma Borque, Kirstin J. Harnos, Stephen W. Nesbitt, and Greg M. McFarquhar

Abstract

Satellite retrieval algorithms and model microphysical parameterizations require guidance from observations to improve the representation of ice-phase microphysical quantities and processes. Here, a parameterization for ice-phase particle size distributions (PSDs) is developed using in situ measurements of cloud microphysical properties collected during the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Cold-Season Precipitation Experiment (GCPEx). This parameterization takes advantage of the relation between the gamma-shape parameter μ and the mass-weighted mean diameter D m of the ice-phase PSD sampled during GCPEx. The retrieval of effective reflectivity Z e and ice water content (IWC) from the reconstructed PSD using the μD m relationship was tested with independent measurements of Z e and IWC and overall leads to a mean error of 8% in both variables. This represents an improvement when compared with errors using the Field et al. parameterization of 10% in IWC and 37% in Z e. Current radar precipitation retrieval algorithms from GPM assume that the PSD follows a gamma distribution with μ = 3. This assumption leads to a mean overestimation of 5% in the retrieved Z e, whereas applying the μD m relationship found here reduces this bias to an overestimation of less than 1%. Proper selection of the a and b coefficients in the mass–dimension relationship is also of crucial importance for retrievals. An inappropriate selection of a and b, even from values observed in previous studies in similar environments and cloud types, can lead to more than 100% bias in IWC and Z e for the ice-phase particles analyzed here.

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Gail Skofronick-Jackson, Mark Kulie, Lisa Milani, Stephen J. Munchak, Norman B. Wood, and Vincenzo Levizzani

Abstract

Retrievals of falling snow from space-based observations represent key inputs for understanding and linking Earth’s atmospheric, hydrological, and energy cycles. This work quantifies and investigates causes of differences among the first stable falling snow retrieval products from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory satellite and CloudSat’s Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR) falling snow product. An important part of this analysis details the challenges associated with comparing the various GPM and CloudSat snow estimates arising from different snow–rain classification methods, orbits, resolutions, sampling, instrument specifications, and algorithm assumptions. After equalizing snow–rain classification methodologies and limiting latitudinal extent, CPR observes nearly 10 (3) times the occurrence (accumulation) of falling snow as GPM’s Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The occurrence disparity is substantially reduced if CloudSat pixels are averaged to simulate DPR radar pixels and CPR observations are truncated below the 8-dBZ reflectivity threshold. However, even though the truncated CPR- and DPR-based data have similar falling snow occurrences, average snowfall rate from the truncated CPR record remains significantly higher (43%) than the DPR, indicating that retrieval assumptions (microphysics and snow scattering properties) are quite different. Diagnostic reflectivity (Z)–snow rate (S) relationships were therefore developed at Ku and W band using the same snow scattering properties and particle size distributions in a final effort to minimize algorithm differences. CPR–DPR snowfall amount differences were reduced to ~16% after adopting this diagnostic Z–S approach.

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W.-K. Tao, T. Iguchi, and S. Lang

Abstract

The Goddard convective–stratiform heating (CSH) algorithm has been used to retrieve latent heating (LH) associated with clouds and cloud systems in support of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. The CSH algorithm requires the use of a cloud-resolving model to simulate LH profiles to build lookup tables (LUTs). However, the current LUTs in the CSH algorithm are not suitable for retrieving LH profiles at high latitudes or winter conditions that are needed for GPM. The NASA Unified-Weather Research and Forecasting (NU-WRF) Model is used to simulate three eastern continental U.S. (CONUS) synoptic winter and three western coastal/offshore events. The relationship between LH structures (or profiles) and other precipitation properties (radar reflectivity, freezing-level height, echo-top height, maximum dBZ height, vertical dBZ gradient, and surface precipitation rate) is examined, and a new classification system is adopted with varying ranges for each of these precipitation properties to create LUTs representing high latitude/winter conditions. The performance of the new LUTs is examined using a self-consistency check for one CONUS and one West Coast offshore event by comparing LH profiles retrieved from the LUTs using model-simulated precipitation properties with those originally simulated by the model. The results of the self-consistency check validate the new classification and LUTs. The new LUTs provide the foundation for high-latitude retrievals that can then be merged with those from the tropical CSH algorithm to retrieve LH profiles over the entire GPM domain using precipitation properties retrieved from the GPM combined algorithm.

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Liang Liao and Robert Meneghini

Abstract

A physical evaluation of the rain profiling retrieval algorithms for the Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) on board the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory satellite is carried out by applying them to the hydrometeor profiles generated from measured raindrop size distributions (DSD). The DSD-simulated radar profiles are used as input to the algorithms, and their estimates of hydrometeors’ parameters are compared with the same quantities derived directly from the DSD data (or truth). The retrieval accuracy is assessed by the degree to which the estimates agree with the truth. To check the validity and robustness of the retrievals, the profiles are constructed for cases ranging from fully correlated (or uniform) to totally uncorrelated DSDs along the columns. Investigation into the sensitivity of the retrieval results to the model assumptions is made to characterize retrieval uncertainties and identify error sources. Comparisons between the single- and dual-wavelength algorithm performance are carried out with either a single- or dual-wavelength constraint of the path integral or differential path integral attenuation. The results suggest that the DPR dual-wavelength algorithm generally provides accurate range-profiled estimates of rainfall rate and mass-weighted diameter with the dual-wavelength estimates superior in accuracy to those from the single-wavelength retrievals.

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Minda Le and V. Chandrasekar

Abstract

Extensive evaluations have been performed on the dual-frequency classification module in the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) level-2 algorithm. Both rain type classification and melting-layer detection continue to show promising results in the validations. Surface snowfall identification is a feature newly added in the classification module to the recently released version to provide a surface snowfall flag for each qualified vertical profile. This algorithm is developed upon vertical features of Ku- and Ka-band reflectivity and dual-frequency ratio from DPR. In this paper, we validate this surface snowfall identification algorithm with ground radars including NEXRAD, NASA Polarimetric Radar (NPOL), and CSU–CHILL radar during concurrent precipitation events and GPM validation campaign Olympic Mountain Experiment (OLYMPEX). Other ground truth such as Precipitation Imaging Package (PIP) and ground report is also included in the validation. Based on 16 validation cases in the years 2014–18, the average match ratio between surface snowfall flag from space radar and ground radar is around 87.8%. Promising agreements are achieved with different validation sources. Algorithm limitation and potential improvement are discussed.

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Xinxuan Zhang and Emmanouil N. Anagnostou

Abstract

The study evaluated a numerical weather model (WRF)-based satellite precipitation adjustment technique with 81 heavy precipitation events that occurred in three tropical mountainous regions (Colombia, Peru, and Taiwan). The technique was applied on two widely used near-real-time global satellite precipitation products—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center morphing technique (CMORPH) and the Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation project (GSMaP)—for each precipitation event. The WRF-adjusted satellite products along with the near-real-time and gauge-adjusted satellite products as well as the WRF simulation were evaluated by independent gauge networks at daily scale and event total scale. Results show that the near-real-time precipitation products exhibited severe underestimation relative to the gauge observations over the three tropical mountainous regions. The underestimation tended to be larger for higher rainfall accumulations. The WRF-based satellite adjustment provided considerable improvements to the near-real-time CMORPH and GSMaP products. Moreover, error metrics show that WRF-adjusted satellite products outperformed the gauge-adjusted counterparts for most of the events. The effectiveness of WRF-based satellite adjustment varied with events of different physical processes. Thus, the technique applied on satellite precipitation estimates of these events may exhibit inconsistencies in the bias correction.

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Zeinab Takbiri, Ardeshir Ebtehaj, Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Pierre-Emmanuel Kirstetter, and F. Joseph Turk

Abstract

Monitoring changes of precipitation phase from space is important for understanding the mass balance of Earth’s cryosphere in a changing climate. This paper examines a Bayesian nearest neighbor approach for prognostic detection of precipitation and its phase using passive microwave observations from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite. The method uses the weighted Euclidean distance metric to search through an a priori database populated with coincident GPM radiometer and radar observations as well as ancillary snow-cover data. The algorithm performance is evaluated using data from GPM official precipitation products, ground-based radars, and high-fidelity simulations from the Weather Research and Forecasting Model. Using the presented approach, we demonstrate that the hit probability of terrestrial precipitation detection can reach to 0.80, while the probability of false alarm remains below 0.11. The algorithm demonstrates higher skill in detecting snowfall than rainfall, on average by 10%. In particular, the probability of precipitation detection and its solid phase increases by 11% and 8%, over dry snow cover, when compared to other surface types. The main reason is found to be related to the ability of the algorithm in capturing the signal of increased liquid water content in snowy clouds over radiometrically cold snow-covered surfaces.

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Zhaoxia Pu, Chaulam Yu, Vijay Tallapragada, Jianjun Jin, and Will McCarty

Abstract

The impact of assimilating Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Microwave Imager (GMI) clear-sky radiance on the track and intensity forecasts of two Atlantic hurricanes during the 2015 and 2016 hurricane seasons is assessed using the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) Model. The GMI clear-sky brightness temperature is assimilated using a Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI)-based hybrid ensemble–variational data assimilation system, which utilizes the Community Radiative Transfer Model (CRTM) as a forward operator for satellite sensors. A two-step bias correction approach, which combines a linear regression procedure and variational bias correction, is used to remove most of the systematic biases prior to data assimilation. Forecast results show that assimilating GMI clear-sky radiance has positive impacts on both track and intensity forecasts, with the extent depending on the phase of hurricane evolution. Forecast verifications against dropsonde soundings and reanalysis data show that assimilating GMI clear-sky radiance, when it does not overlap with overpasses of other microwave sounders, can improve forecasts of both thermodynamic (e.g., temperature and specific humidity) and dynamic variables (geopotential height and wind field), which in turn lead to better track forecasts and a more realistic hurricane inner-core structure. Even when other microwave sounders are present (e.g., AMSU-A, ATMS, MHS, etc.), the assimilation of GMI still reduces temperature forecast errors in the near-hurricane environment, which has a significant impact on the intensity forecast.

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Liang Liao and Robert Meneghini

Abstract

To overcome a deficiency in the standard Ku- and Ka-band dual-wavelength radar technique, a modified version of the method is introduced. The deficiency arises from ambiguities in the estimate of the mass-weighted diameter D m of the raindrop size distribution (DSD) derived from the differential frequency ratio (DFR), defined as the difference between the radar reflectivity factors (dB) at Ku and Ka band Z KuZ Ka. In particular, for DFR values less than zero, there are two possible solutions of D m, leading to ambiguities in the retrieved DSD parameters. It is shown that the double solutions to D m are effectively eliminated if the DFR is modified from Z KuZ Ka to Z KuγZ Ka (dB), where γ is a constant with a value less than 0.8. An optimal radar algorithm that uses the modified DFR for the retrieval of rain and D m profiles is described. The validity and accuracy of the algorithm are tested by applying it to radar profiles that are generated from measured DSD data. Comparisons of the rain rates and D m estimated from the modified DFR algorithm to the same hydrometeor quantities computed directly from the DSD spectra (or the truth) indicate that the modified DFR-based profiling retrievals perform fairly well and are superior in accuracy and robustness to retrievals using the standard DFR.

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