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  • DYNAMO/CINDY/AMIE/LASP: Processes, Dynamics, and Prediction of MJO Initiation x
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Jianhao Zhang, Paquita Zuidema, David D. Turner, and Maria P. Cadeddu

Abstract

The interactions between equatorial convection and humidity as a function of height, at a range of time scales, remain an important research frontier. The ability of surface-based microwave radiometry to contribute to such research is assessed using retrievals of the vertical structure of atmospheric humidity above the equatorial Indian Ocean, developed as part of the Dynamics of Madden–Julian Oscillation field campaign. The optimally estimated humidity retrievals are based on radiances at five frequencies spanning 20–30 GHz and are constrained by radiometer-derived water vapor paths that compare well to radiosonde values except in highly convective conditions. The moisture retrievals possess a robust 2 degrees of freedom, allowing the atmosphere to be treated as two independent layers. A mean bias of 1 g kg−1 contains a vertical structure that is removed in the assessments. The retrieved moisture profiles are able to capture humidity variability within two layer averages at intraseasonal, synoptic, and daily time scales. The retrieved humidity profiles at hourly scales are qualitatively correct under synoptically suppressed conditions but with an exaggerated vertical bimodality. The retrievals do not match radiosonde profiles within most of the day prior to/after convection. This analysis serves to better delineate applications for radiometers. Radiometers can usefully augment more expensive radiosonde networks for longer-term monitoring given careful cross-instrument calibration. At shorter time scales, a synergism with additional instruments can likely increase the realism of the retrievals.

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Elizabeth J. Thompson, Steven A. Rutledge, Brenda Dolan, Merhala Thurai, and V. Chandrasekar

Abstract

Dual-polarization radar rainfall estimation relationships have been extensively tested in continental and subtropical coastal rain regimes, with little testing over tropical oceans where the majority of rain on Earth occurs. A 1.5-yr Indo-Pacific warm pool disdrometer dataset was used to quantify the impacts of tropical oceanic drop-size distribution (DSD) variability on dual-polarization radar variables and their resulting utility for rainfall estimation. Variables that were analyzed include differential reflectivity Z dr; specific differential phase K dp; reflectivity Z h; and specific attenuation A h. When compared with continental or coastal convection, tropical oceanic Z dr and K dp values were more often of low magnitude (<0.5 dB, <0.3° km−1) and Z dr was lower for a given K dp or Z h, consistent with observations of tropical oceanic DSDs being dominated by numerous, small, less-oblate drops. New X-, C-, and S-band R estimators were derived: R(K dp), R(A h), R(K dp, ζ dr), R(z, ζ dr), and R(A h, ζ dr), which use linear versions of Z dr and Z h, namely ζ dr and z. Except for R(K dp), convective/stratiform partitioning was unnecessary for these estimators. All dual-polarization estimators outperformed updated R(z) estimators derived from the same dataset. The best-performing estimator was R(K dp, ζ dr), followed by R(A h, ζ dr) and R(z, ζ dr). The R error was further reduced in an updated blended algorithm choosing between R(z), R(z, ζ dr), R(K dp), and R(K dp, ζ dr) depending on Z dr > 0.25 dB and K dp > 0.3° km−1 thresholds. Because of these thresholds and the lack of hail, R(K dp) was never used. At all wavelengths, R(z) was still needed 43% of the time during light rain (R < 5 mm h−1, Z dr < 0.25 dB), composing 7% of the total rain volume. As wavelength decreased, R(K dp, ζ dr) was used more often, R(z, ζ dr) was used less often, and the blended algorithm became increasingly more accurate than R(z).

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