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R. Meneghini, K. Nakamura, C. W. Ulbrich, and D. Atlas

Abstract

For a spaceborne meteorological radar, the use of frequencies above 10 GHz may be necessary to attain sufficient spatial resolution. As the frequency increases, however, attenuation by rain becomes significant. To extend the range of rain rates that can be accurately estimated, methods other than the conventional Z-R, or backscattering method, are needed. In this paper, tests are made of two attenuation-based methods using data from a dual-wavelength airborne radar operating at 3 cm and 0.87 cm. For the conventional dual-wavelength method, the differential attenuation is estimated from the relative decrease in the signal level with range. For the surface reference method, the attenuation is determined from the difference of surface return powers measured in the absence and the presence of rain. For purposes of comparison, and as an indication of the relative accuracies of the techniques, the backscattering, (Z-R), method, as applied to the 3 cm data, is employed. As the primary sources of error for the Z-R, dual-wavelength, and surface reference methods are nearly independent, some confidence in the results is warranted when thew methods yield similar rain rates. Cases of good agreement occur most often in stratiform rain for rain rates between a few mm h−1 to about 15 mm h−1; that is, where attenuation at the shorter wavelength is significant but not so severe as to result in a loss of signal. When the estimates disagree, it is sometimes possible to identify the likely error source by an examination of the return power profiles and a knowledge of the error sources.

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David A. Short, Robert Meneghini, Amber E. Emory, and Mathew R. Schwaller

Abstract

A spaceborne precipitation radar samples the vertical structure of precipitating hydrometeors from the top down. The viewing geometry and operating frequency result in certain limitations and opportunities. Among the limitations is attenuation of the radar signal that can cause the measured radar reflectivity factor to be substantially less than the desired quantity, the true radar reflectivity factor. Another error source is the spatial variability in precipitation rates that occurs at scales smaller than the sensor field of view (FOV), giving rise to the nonuniform beamfilling (NUBF) effect. The opportunities arise when the radar return from the surface can be used to obtain constraints on the path-integrated attenuation (PIA) for use in hybrid attenuation correction algorithms. The surface return can also provide some information on the degree of NUBF at off-nadir viewing angles. In this paper ground-based radar data are used to simulate spaceborne radar data at nadir and off-nadir viewing angles at Ku band and Ka band and to test attenuation correction algorithms in the presence of nonuniform beamfilling. The cross-FOV gradient in PIA is found to be an important characteristic for describing the performance of attenuation correction algorithms.

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I. J. Caylor, G. M. Heymsfield, R. Meneghini, and L. S. Miller

Abstract

The return from the ocean surface has a number of uses for airborne meteorological radar. The normalized surface cross section has been used for radar system calibration, estimation of surface winds, and in algorithms for estimating the path-integrated attenuation in rain. However, meteorological radars are normally optimized for observation of distributed targets that fill the resolution volume, and so a point target such as the surface can be poorly sampled, particularly at near-nadir look angles. Sampling the nadir surface return at an insufficient rate results in a negative bias of the estimated cross section. This error is found to be as large as 4 dB using observations from a high-altitude airborne radar. An algorithm for mitigating the error is developed that is based upon the shape of the surface echo and uses the returned signal at the three range gates nearest the peak surface echo.

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R. Meneghini, J. A. Jones, T. Iguchi, K. Okamoto, and J. Kwiatkowski

Abstract

Data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation radar represent the first global rain-rate dataset acquired by a spaceborne weather radar. Because the radar operates at an attenuating wavelength, one of the principal issues concerns the accuracy of the attenuation correction algorithms. One way to test these algorithms is by means of a statistical method in which the probability distribution of rain rates at the high end is inferred by measurements at the low to intermediate range and by the assumption that the rain rates are lognormally distributed. Investigation of this method and the area–time integral methods using a global dataset provides an indication of how well methods of this kind can be expected to perform over different space–timescales and climatological regions using the sparsely sampled TRMM radar data. Identification of statistical relationships among the rain parameters and an understanding of the rain-rate distribution as a function of time and space may help to test the validity of the high-resolution rain-rate estimates.

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R. Meneghini, J. A. Jones, T. Iguchi, K. Okamoto, and J. Kwiatkowski

Abstract

Satellite weather radars that operate at attenuating wavelengths require an estimate of path attenuation to reconstruct the range profile of rainfall. One such method is the surface reference technique (SRT), by which attenuation is estimated as the difference between the surface cross section outside the rain and the apparent surface cross section measured in rain. This and the Hitschfeld–Bordan method are used operationally to estimate rain rate using data from the precipitation radar (PR) aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite. To overcome some of the problems associated with the latest operational version of the SRT, a hybrid surface reference is defined that uses information from the along-track and cross-track variations of the surface cross sections in rain-free areas. Over ocean, this approach eliminates most of the discontinuities in the path-attenuation field. Self-consistency of the estimates is tested by processing the orbits backward as well as forward. Calculations from 2 weeks of PR data show that 90% of the rain events over ocean for which the SRT is classified as reliable or marginally reliable are such that the absolute difference between the forward and backward estimates is less than 1 dB.

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H-Y. M. Yeh, N. Prasad, R. Meneghini, W-K. Tao, J. A. Jones, and R. F. Adler

Abstract

Simulations of observations from potential spaceborne radars are made based on storm structure generated from the three-dimensional (3D) Goddard cumulus ensemble model simulation of an intense overland convective system. Five frequencies of 3, 10, 14, 35, and 95 GHz are discussed, but the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission precipitation radar sensor frequency ( 14 GHz) is the focus of this study. Radar reflectivities and their attenuation in various atmospheric conditions are studied in this simulation. With the attenuation from cloud and precipitation in the estimation of reflectivity factor (dBZ), the reflectivities in the lower atmosphere in the convective coresare significantly reduced. With spatial resolution of 4 km X 4 km, attenuation at 14 GHz may cause as large as a 20-dBZ difference between the simulated measurements of the peak (Zmp) and near-surface reflectivity (Zmp) in the most intense convective region. The Zmp occurs at various altitudes depending on the hydrometeor concentrations and their vertical distribution. Despite the significant attenuation in the intense cores, the presence of the rain maximum is easily detected by using information of Zmp. In the stratiform region, the attenuation is quite limited (usually less than 5 dBZ), and the reduction of reflectivity is mostly related to the actual vertical structure of cloud distribution. Since Zmp suffers severe attenuation and tends to underestimate surface rainfall intensity in convective regions, Zmp can be more representative for rainfall retrieval in the lower atmosphere in these regions. In the stratiform region where attenuation is negligible, however, Zmp tends to overestimate surface rainfall and Zmp is more appropriate for rainfall retrieval. A hybrid technique using a weight between the two rain intensities is testedand found potentially useful for future applications. The estimated surface rain-rate map based on this hybrid approach captures many of the details of the cloud model rain field but still slightly underestimates the rain-rate maximum.

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Peter Bauer, A. Khain, A. Pokrovsky, R. Meneghini, C. Kummerow, F. Marzano, and J. P. V. Poiares Baptista

Abstract

The simulation of explicit particle spectra during cloud evolution by a two-dimensional spectral cloud model was used to investigate the response of microwave radiative transfer to particle spectra development with special focus on the radiative effects of melting particles below the freezing level. For this purpose, 1) a particle-melting model was implemented with increased vertical resolution; 2) several models of the dielectric permittivity for melting particles were compared; 3) the dependence on size–density distributions was evaluated; and 4) the influence on the results by the replacement of explicit by parameterized particle spectra was tested.

Radiative transfer simulations over ocean background at frequencies between 10.7 and 85.5 GHz showed a considerable increase in brightness temperatures (T B) once melting particles were included. The amounts were strongly dependent on the implemented permittivity model, the number concentrations of large frozen particles right above the freezing level, and the local cloud conditions. Assuming a random mixture of air, ice, and meltwater in the particle, T Bs increased by up to 30 K (at 37.0 GHz) in the stratiform cloud portion for nadir view. If the meltwater was taken to reside at the particle boundaries, unrealistic T B changes were produced at all frequencies. This led to the conclusion that for large tenuous snowflakes the random-mixture model seems most appropriate, while for small and dense particles a nonuniform water distribution may be realistic. The net melting effect on simulated T Bs, however, depended strongly on attenuation by supercooled liquid water above the freezing level, which generally suppressed the signal at 85.5 GHz. Over land background, changes in T B due to melting particles remained below 8 K, which would be difficult to identify compared to variations in surface emission and cloud profile heterogeneity.

Replacement of the explicit particle spectra for rain, snow, and graupel by parameterized spectra (here, in exponential form with a fixed intercept) produced reductions of the melting signature by up to 40% over ocean. It was found that exponential size distribution formulas tended to underestimate number concentrations of large particles and overestimated those of small particles at those cloud levels where sufficient particle sedimentation leads to collection, aggregation, and evaporation, respectively. Consequently, the strongest differences between explicit and parameterized spectra occurred right above the freezing level for snow and graupel, and close to the surface for rain. Radiometrically, this resulted in an underestimation of scattering above the freezing level and an underestimation of emission by melting particles below the freezing level as well as by rain toward the surface. In the stratiform region, the net effect was a reduction of the melting signature; however, T B’s were still up to 15 K higher than from the no-melting case for the random-mixture permittivity model.

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W-K. Tao, S. Lang, W. S. Olson, R. Meneghini, S. Yang, J. Simpson, C. Kummerow, E. Smith, and J. Halverson

Abstract

This paper represents the first attempt to use Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) rainfall information to estimate the four-dimensional latent heating structure over the global Tropics for one month (February 1998). The mean latent heating profiles over six oceanic regions [Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere (TOGA) Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE) Intensive Flux Array (IFA), central Pacific, South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ), east Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Atlantic Ocean] and three continental regions (South America, central Africa, and Australia) are estimated and studied. The heating profiles obtained from the results of diagnostic budget studies over a broad range of geographic locations are used to provide comparisons and indirect validation for the heating algorithm–estimated heating profiles. Three different latent heating algorithms, the Goddard Space Flight Center convective–stratiform heating (CSH), the Goddard profiling (GPROF) heating, and the hydrometeor heating (HH) algorithms are used and their results are intercompared. The horizontal distribution or patterns of latent heat release from the three different heating retrieval methods are very similar. They all can identify the areas of major convective activity [i.e., a well-defined Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) in the Pacific, a distinct SPCZ] in the global Tropics. The magnitudes of their estimated latent heating release are also in good agreement with each other and with those determined from diagnostic budget studies. However, the major difference among these three heating retrieval algorithms is the altitude of the maximum heating level. The CSH algorithm–estimated heating profiles only show one maximum heating level, and the level varies among convective activity from various geographic locations. These features are in good agreement with diagnostic budget studies. A broader maximum of heating, often with two embedded peaks, is generally derived from applications of the GPROF heating and HH algorithms, and the response of the heating profiles to convective activity is less pronounced. Also, GPROF and HH generally yield heating profiles with a maximum at somewhat lower altitudes than CSH. The impact of different TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) and precipitation radar (PR) rainfall information on latent heating structures was also examined. The rainfall estimated from the PR is smaller than that estimated from the TMI in the Pacific (TOGA COARE IFA, central Pacific, SPCZ, and east Pacific) and Indian Oceans, causing weaker latent heat release in the CSH algorithm–estimated heating. In addition, the larger stratiform amounts derived from the PR over South America and Australia consequently lead to higher maximum heating levels. Sensitivity tests addressing the appropriate selection of latent heating profiles from the CSH lookup table were performed.

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Gail M. Skofronick-Jackson, James R. Wang, Gerald M. Heymsfield, Robbie Hood, Will Manning, Robert Meneghini, and James A. Weinman

Abstract

Information about the vertical microphysical cloud structure is useful in many modeling and predictive practices. Radiometers and radars are used to observe hydrometeor properties. This paper describes an iterative retrieval algorithm that combines the use of airborne active and wideband (10–340 GHz) passive observations to estimate the vertical content and particle size distributions of liquid and frozen hydrometeors. Airborne radar and radiometer observations from the third Convection and Moisture Experiment (CAMEX-3) were used in the retrieval algorithm as constraints. Nadir profiles were estimated for 1 min each of flight time (approximately 12.5 km along track) for anvil, convective, and quasi-stratiform clouds associated with Hurricane Bonnie (August 1998). The physically based retrieval algorithm relies on high frequencies (≥150 GHz) to provide details on the frozen hydrometeors. Neglecting the high frequencies yielded acceptable estimates of the liquid profiles, but the ice profiles were poorly retrieved. The wideband observations were found to more than double the estimated frozen hydrometeor content as compared with retrievals using only 90 GHz and below. The convective and quasi-stratiform iterative retrievals quickly reached convergence. The complex structure of the frozen hydrometeors required the most iterations for convergence for the anvil cloud type. Nonunique profiles, within physical and theoretical bounds, were retrieved for thin anvil ice clouds. A qualitative validation using coincident in situ CAMEX-3 observations shows that the retrieved particle size distributions are well corroborated with independent measurements.

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William S. Olson, Lin Tian, Mircea Grecu, Kwo-Sen Kuo, Benjamin T. Johnson, Andrew J. Heymsfield, Aaron Bansemer, Gerald M. Heymsfield, James R. Wang, and Robert Meneghini

Abstract

In this study, two different particle models describing the structure and electromagnetic properties of snow are developed and evaluated for potential use in satellite combined radar–radiometer precipitation estimation algorithms. In the first model, snow particles are assumed to be homogeneous ice–air spheres with single-scattering properties derived from Mie theory. In the second model, snow particles are created by simulating the self-collection of pristine ice crystals into aggregate particles of different sizes, using different numbers and habits of the collected component crystals. Single-scattering properties of the resulting nonspherical snow particles are determined using the discrete dipole approximation. The size-distribution-integrated scattering properties of the spherical and nonspherical snow particles are incorporated into a dual-wavelength radar profiling algorithm that is applied to 14- and 34-GHz observations of stratiform precipitation from the ER-2 aircraftborne High-Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (HIWRAP) radar. The retrieved ice precipitation profiles are then input to a forward radiative transfer calculation in an attempt to simulate coincident radiance observations from the Conical Scanning Millimeter-Wave Imaging Radiometer (CoSMIR). Much greater consistency between the simulated and observed CoSMIR radiances is obtained using estimated profiles that are based upon the nonspherical crystal/aggregate snow particle model. Despite this greater consistency, there remain some discrepancies between the higher moments of the HIWRAP-retrieved precipitation size distributions and in situ distributions derived from microphysics probe observations obtained from Citation aircraft underflights of the ER-2. These discrepancies can only be eliminated if a subset of lower-density crystal/aggregate snow particles is assumed in the radar algorithm and in the interpretation of the in situ data.

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