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Jiaying Zhang, Liao-Fan Lin, and Rafael L. Bras

Abstract

Hydrological applications rely on the availability and quality of precipitation products, especially model- and satellite-based products for use in areas without ground measurements. It is known that the quality of model- and satellite-based precipitation products is complementary: model-based products exhibit high quality during cold seasons while satellite-based products are better during warm seasons. To explore the complementary behavior of the quality of the precipitation products, this study uses 2-m air temperature as auxiliary information to evaluate high-resolution (0.1°/hourly) precipitation estimates from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and from the version 5 Integrated Multisatellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) algorithm (i.e., early and final runs). The products are evaluated relative to the reference NCEP Stage IV precipitation estimates over the central United States during August 2015–July 2017. Results show that the IMERG final-run estimates are nearly unbiased, while the IMERG early-run and the WRF estimates are positively biased. The WRF estimates exhibit high correlations with the reference data when the temperature falls below 280 K. The IMERG estimates, both early and final runs, do so when the temperature exceeds 280 K. Moreover, the complementary behavior of the WRF and the IMERG products conditioned on air temperature does not vary with either season or location.

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Daniel J. Cecil and Themis Chronis

Abstract

Coefficients are derived for computing the polarization-corrected temperature (PCT) for 10-, 19-, 37- and 89-GHz (and similar) frequencies, with applicability to satellites in the Global Precipitation Measurement mission constellation and their predecessors. PCTs for 10- and 19-GHz frequencies have been nonexistent or seldom used in the past; developing those is the main goal of this study. For 37 and 89 GHz, other formulations of PCT have already become well established. We consider those frequencies here in order to test whether the large sample sizes that are readily available now would point to different formulations of PCT. The purpose of the PCT is to reduce the effects of surface emissivity differences in a scene and draw attention to ice scattering signals related to precipitation. In particular, our intention is to develop a PCT formula that minimizes the differences between land and water surfaces, so that signatures resulting from deep convection are not easily confused with water surfaces. The new formulations of PCT for 10- and 19-GHz measurements hold promise for identifying and investigating intense convection. Four examples are shown from relevant cases. The PCT for each frequency is effective at drawing attention to the most intense convection, and removing ambiguous signals that are related to underlying land or water surfaces. For 37 and 89 GHz, the older formulations of PCT from the literature yield generally similar values as ours, with the differences mainly being a few kelvins over oceans. An optimal formulation of PCT can depend on location and season; results are presented here separated by latitude and month.

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Daniel Watters, Alessandro Battaglia, Kamil Mroz, and Frédéric Tridon

Abstract

Instantaneous surface rain rate estimates from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission’s Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) and combined DPR and multifrequency microwave imager (CMB) version-5 products are compared to those from the Met Office Radarnet 4 system’s Great Britain and Ireland (GBI) radar composite product. The spaceborne and ground-based rainfall products are collocated spatially and temporally and compared at 5- and 25-km resolutions over GBI during a 3-yr period (from May 2014 to April 2017). The comparison results are evaluated as a function of both the intensity and variability of precipitation within the DPR field of view and are stratified spatially and seasonally. CMB and DPR products underestimate rain rates with respect to the Radarnet product by 21% and 31%, respectively, when considering 25-km resolution data taken within 75 km of a ground-based radar. Large variability in the discrepancies between spaceborne and ground-based rain rate estimates is the result of limitations of both systems and random errors in the collocation of their measurements. The Radarnet retrieval is affected by issues with measuring the vertical extent of precipitation at far ranges, while the GPM system struggles in properly quantifying orographic precipitation. Part of the underestimation by the GPM products appears to be a consequence of an erroneous DPR clutter identification in the presence of low freezing levels. Both products are susceptible to seasonal variations in performance and decreases in precision with increased levels of heterogeneity within the instruments’ field of view.

Open access
Kamil Mroz, Alessandro Battaglia, Timothy J. Lang, Simone Tanelli, and Gian Franco Sacco

Abstract

A statistical analysis of simultaneous observations of more than 800 hailstorms over the continental United States performed by the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) and the ground-based Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) network has been carried out. Several distinctive features of DPR measurements of hail-bearing columns, potentially exploitable by hydrometeor classification algorithms, are identified. In particular, the height and the strength of the Ka-band reflectivity peak show a strong relationship with the hail shaft area within the instrument field of view (FOV). Signatures of multiple scattering (MS) at the Ka band are observed for a range of rimed particles, including but not exclusively for hail. MS amplifies uncertainty in the effective Ka reflectivity estimate and has a negative impact on the accuracy of dual-frequency rainfall retrievals at the ground. The hydrometeor composition of convective cells presents a large inhomogeneity within the DPR FOV. Strong nonuniform beamfilling (NUBF) introduces large ambiguities in the attenuation correction at Ku and Ka bands, which additionally hamper quantitative retrievals. The effective detection of profiles affected by MS is a very challenging task, since the inhomogeneity within the DPR FOV may result in measurements that look remarkably like MS signatures. The shape of the DPR reflectivity profiles is the result of the complex interplay between the scattering properties of the different hydrometeors, NUBF, and MS effects, which significantly reduces the ability of the DPR system to detect hail at the ground.

Open access
Clément Guilloteau, Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Christian D. Kummerow, and Veljko Petković

Abstract

The scattering of microwaves at frequencies between 50 and 200 GHz by ice particles in the atmosphere is an essential element in the retrieval of instantaneous surface precipitation from spaceborne passive radiometers. This paper explores how the variable distribution of solid and liquid hydrometeors in the atmospheric column over land surfaces affects the brightness temperature (TB) measured by GMI at 89 GHz through the analysis of Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) reflectivity profiles along the 89-GHz beam. The objective is to refine the statistical relations between observed TBs and surface precipitation over land and to define their limits. As GMI is scanning with a 53° Earth incident angle, the observed atmospheric volume is actually not a vertical column, which may lead to very heterogeneous and seemingly inconsistent distributions of the hydrometeors inside the beam. It is found that the 89-GHz TB is mostly sensitive to the presence of ice hydrometeors several kilometers above the 0°C isotherm, up to 10 km above the 0°C isotherm for the deepest convective systems, but is a modest predictor of the surface precipitation rate. To perform a precise mapping of atmospheric ice, the altitude of the individual ice clusters must be known. Indeed, if variations in the altitude of ice are not accounted for, then the high incident angle of GMI causes a horizontal shift (parallax shift) between the estimated position of the ice clusters and their actual position. We show here that the altitude of ice clusters can be derived from the 89-GHz TB itself, allowing for correction of the parallax shift.

Open access
Stephen E. Lang and Wei-Kuo Tao

Abstract

The Goddard convective–stratiform heating (CSH) algorithm, used to estimate cloud heating in support of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), is upgraded in support of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. The algorithm’s lookup tables (LUTs) are revised using new and additional cloud-resolving model (CRM) simulations from the Goddard Cumulus Ensemble (GCE) model, producing smoother heating patterns that span a wider range of intensities because of the increased sampling and finer GPM product grid. Low-level stratiform cooling rates are reduced in the land LUTs for a given rain intensity because of the rain evaporation correction in the new four-class ice (4ICE) scheme. Additional criteria, namely, echo-top heights and low-level reflectivity gradients, are tested for the selection of heating profiles. Those resulting LUTs show greater and more precise variation in their depth of heating as well as a tendency for stronger cooling and heating rates when low-level dBZ values decrease toward the surface. Comparisons versus TRMM for a 3-month period show much more low-level heating in the GPM retrievals because of increased detection of shallow convection, while upper-level heating patterns remain similar. The use of echo tops and low-level reflectivity gradients greatly reduces midlevel heating from ~2 to 5 km in the mean GPM heating profile, resulting in a more top-heavy profile like TRMM versus a more bottom-heavy profile with much more midlevel heating. Integrated latent heating rates are much better balanced versus surface rainfall for the GPM retrievals using the additional selection criteria with an overall bias of +4.3%.

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Stephanie M. Wingo, Walter A. Petersen, Patrick N. Gatlin, Charanjit S. Pabla, David A. Marks, and David B. Wolff

Abstract

Researchers now have the benefit of an unprecedented suite of space- and ground-based sensors that provide multidimensional and multiparameter precipitation information. Motivated by NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission and ground validation objectives, the System for Integrating Multiplatform Data to Build the Atmospheric Column (SIMBA) has been developed as a unique multisensor precipitation data fusion tool to unify field observations recorded in a variety of formats and coordinate systems into a common reference frame. Through platform-specific modules, SIMBA processes data from native coordinates and resolutions only to the extent required to set them into a user-defined three-dimensional grid. At present, the system supports several ground-based scanning research radars, NWS NEXRAD radars, profiling Micro Rain Radars (MRRs), multiple disdrometers and rain gauges, soundings, the GPM Microwave Imager and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar on board the Core Observatory satellite, and Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor system quantitative precipitation estimates. SIMBA generates a new atmospheric column data product that contains a concomitant set of all available data from the supported platforms within the user-specified grid defining the column area in the versatile netCDF format. Key parameters for each data source are preserved as attributes. SIMBA provides a streamlined framework for initial research tasks, facilitating more efficient precipitation science. We demonstrate the utility of SIMBA for investigations, such as assessing spatial precipitation variability at subpixel scales and appraising satellite sensor algorithm representation of vertical precipitation structure for GPM Core Observatory overpass cases collected in the NASA Wallops Precipitation Science Research Facility and the GPM Olympic Mountain Experiment (OLYMPEX) ground validation field campaign in Washington State.

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Rachael Kroodsma, Stephen Bilanow, and Darren McKague

Abstract

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI) dataset released by the Precipitation Processing System (PPS) has been updated to a final version following the decommissioning of the TRMM satellite in April 2015. The updates are based on increased knowledge of radiometer calibration and sensor performance issues. In particular, the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Microwave Imager (GMI) is used as a model for many of the TMI updates. This paper discusses two aspects of the TMI data product that have been reanalyzed and updated: alignment and along-scan bias corrections. The TMI’s pointing accuracy is significantly improved over prior PPS versions, which used at-launch alignment values. A TMI instrument mounting offset is discovered as well as new alignment offsets for the two TMI feedhorns. The original TMI along-scan antenna temperature bias correction is found to be generally accurate over ocean, but a scene temperature-dependent correction is needed to account for edge-of-scan obstruction. These updates are incorporated into the final TMI data version, improving the quality of the data product and ensuring accurate geophysical parameters can be derived from TMI.

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E. F. Stocker, F. Alquaied, S. Bilanow, Y. Ji, and L. Jones

Abstract

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has always included data reprocessing as a major component of every science mission. A final reprocessing is typically a part of mission closeout (known as phase F). The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) is currently in phase F, and NASA is preparing for the last reprocessing of all the TRMM precipitation data as part of the closeout. This reprocessing includes improvements in calibration of both the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) and the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR). An initial step in the version 8 reprocessing is the improvement of geolocation. The PR calibration is being updated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) using data collected as part of the calibration of the Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) on the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory. JAXA undertook a major effort to ensure TRMM PR and GPM Ku-band calibration is consistent.

A major component of the TRMM version 8 reprocessing is to create consistent retrievals with the GPM version 05 (V05) retrievals. To this end, the TRMM version 8 reprocessing uses retrieval algorithms based on the GPM V05 algorithms. This approach ensures consistent retrievals from December 1997 (the beginning of TRMM) through the current ongoing GPM retrievals. An outcome of this reprocessing is the incorporation of TRMM data products into the GPM data suite. Incorporation also means that GPM file naming conventions and reprocessed TRMM data carry the V05 data product version. This paper describes the TRMM version 8 reprocessing, focusing on the improvements in TMI level 1 products.

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Lijing Cheng, Hao Luo, Timothy Boyer, Rebecca Cowley, John Abraham, Viktor Gouretski, Franco Reseghetti, and Jiang Zhu

Abstract

Biases have been identified in historical expendable bathythermograph (XBT) datasets, which are one of the major sources of uncertainty in the ocean subsurface database. More than 10 correction schemes were proposed; however, their performance has not been collectively evaluated and compared. This study quantifies how well 10 different available schemes can correct the historical XBT data by comparing the corrected XBT data with collocated reference data in both the World Ocean Database (WOD) 2013 and the EN4 dataset. Four different metrics are proposed to quantify their performances. The results indicate CH14 is the best among the currently available methods, and L09/G12/GR10 can be used with some caveats. To test the robustness of the schemes, we further train the CH14 and L09 by using 50% of the XBT–reference data and the schemes are tested by using the remaining data. The results indicate that the two schemes are robust. Moreover, the EN4 and WOD comparison datasets show a systematic difference of XBT error (~0.01°C on a global scale and 0–700 m on average). influences of quality control and data processing have been investigated. Additionally, the side-by-side XBT–CTD comparison experiment is used to examine the correction schemes and provides independent high-quality data for the assessment. The schemes that best correct the global datasets do not always perform as well at correcting the side-by-side dataset, and further examination of the discrepancy in performance is still required. Finally, CH14 and L09 result in very similar ocean heat content (OHC) change estimates in the upper 700 m since 1966, suggesting the potential of reducing XBT-induced error in OHC estimates.

Open access