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B. Kedem, R. Pfeiffer, and D. A. Short


A mixed lognormal distribution is fit to rain-rate data for the purpose of estimating the space–time mean. Using Fisher information, the large sample variance is obtained for grouped and ungrouped data estimates. The asymptotic variance results are used in deriving the efficiency of the grouped data estimator as a function of the mixed lognormal parameters. The method is applied to data from the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment binned into 2 km × 2 km and 4 km × 4 km pixels. The variance of estimators is smaller for the 4 km × 4 km case, indicating that the lognormal model is more appropriate for the lower-resolution data.

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C. Prabhakara, D. A. Short, W. Wiscombe, R. S. Fraser, and B. E. Vollmer


Nimbus 7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) measurements at five frequencies in the region 6.6 to 37 GHz, at a resolution of 155 km, are analyzed to infer precipitation over the global oceans. The microwave data show, on this spatial scale, that the combined liquid water in the clouds and rain increases the brightness temperature almost linearly with frequency in the 6.6 to 18 GHz region, while at 37 GHz such a simple relationship is not noticed. Further, as the atmospheric water vapor absorption and the effects of scattering by precipitation particles are relatively weak at 6.6 and 10.7 GHz, a technique to remotely sense the liquid water content in the atmosphere is developed based on the brightness measurements at these two frequencies. Seasonal mean patterns of liquid water content in the atmosphere derived from SMMR over global oceans relate closely to climatological patterns of precipitation. Based on this, an empirical relationship is derived to estimate precipitation over the global oceans, with an accuracy of about ±30 percent, on a seasonal basis from satellite measurements made during the three years (1979–81) before the recent El Niño event. The deviations from these three-year means in the precipitation, produced by the 1982–83 El Niño event are then deduced from the SMMR measurements. In the Pacific one notices from these deviations that the precipitation over the ITCZ in the north, the South Pacific Convergence Zone, and the oceans around Indonesia is drastically reduced. At the same time a substantial increase in precipitation is observed over the normally dry central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

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