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Takuji Kubota
,
Toshio Iguchi
,
Masahiro Kojima
,
Liang Liao
,
Takeshi Masaki
,
Hiroshi Hanado
,
Robert Meneghini
, and
Riko Oki

Abstract

A statistical method to reduce the sidelobe clutter of the Ku-band precipitation radar (KuPR) of the Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) on board the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory is described and evaluated using DPR observations. The KuPR sidelobe clutter was much more severe than that of the Precipitation Radar on board the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), and it has caused the misidentification of precipitation. The statistical method to reduce sidelobe clutter was constructed by subtracting the estimated sidelobe power, based upon a multiple regression model with explanatory variables of the normalized radar cross section (NRCS) of surface, from the received power of the echo. The saturation of the NRCS at near-nadir angles, resulting from strong surface scattering, was considered in the calculation of the regression coefficients.

The method was implemented in the KuPR algorithm and applied to KuPR-observed data. It was found that the received power from sidelobe clutter over the ocean was largely reduced by using the developed method, although some of the received power from the sidelobe clutter still remained. From the statistical results of the evaluations, it was shown that the number of KuPR precipitation events in the clutter region, after the method was applied, was comparable to that in the clutter-free region. This confirms the reasonable performance of the method in removing sidelobe clutter. For further improving the effectiveness of the method, it is necessary to improve the consideration of the NRCS saturation, which will be explored in future work.

Full access
Masafumi Hirose
,
Shuji Shimizu
,
Riko Oki
,
Toshio Iguchi
,
David A. Short
, and
Kenji Nakamura

Abstract

The incidence-angle differences of estimated surface rainfall obtained from the precipitation radar (PR) on board the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite were investigated. The bias before the orbit boost in August 2001 relative to the near-nadir statistics was 2.7% over the ocean and −5.8% over land. After the boost, the bias was −3.2% and −9.5%, respectively. These biases were further quantified with respect to error sources, that is, the beam mismatch correction error, detection capability of storms with low-level storm-top height, and residual effects. For shallow storms lower than 3 km, most incidence-angle differences were caused by main lobe contamination. For nonshallow storms, several error factors resulted in 5.3% overestimates over the ocean and 5.1% underestimates over land for the period before the boost. The remaining uncertainty in local low-level profiles was identified as a controversial issue.

The bias-corrected dataset updates the interannual variation in rainfall obtained from the TRMM PR. The increasing rainfall features and recent high-rainfall years were consistent with prior studies based on other microwave sensors. The coherent signals and slight differences in the temporal variation compared with the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) data indicate the importance of further internal and cross validations based on long-term observation by multiple sensors.

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Kaya Kanemaru
,
Takuji Kubota
,
Toshio Iguchi
,
Yukari N. Takayabu
, and
Riko Oki

Abstract

Precipitation observation with the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission’s (TRMM’s) precipitation radar (PR) lasted for more than 17 years. To study the changes in the water and energy cycle related to interannual and decadal variabilities of climate, homogeneity of long-term PR data is essential. The aim of the study is to develop a precipitation climate record from the 17-yr PR observation. The focus was on mitigating the discontinuities associated with the switching to redundant electronics in the PR in June 2009. In version 7 of the level-1 PR product, a discontinuity in noise power is found at this timing, indicating a change in the signal-to-noise ratio. To mitigate the effect of this discontinuity on climate studies, the noise power of the B-side PR obtained after June 2009 is artificially increased to match that of the A-side PR. Simulation results show that the storm height and the precipitation frequency detected by the PR relatively decrease by 2.17% and 5.15% in the TRMM coverage area (35°S–35°N), respectively, and that the obvious discontinuity of the time series by the storm height and the precipitation fraction caused by the switching to the redundancy electronics is mitigated. Differences in the statistics of other precipitation parameters caused by the switching are also mitigated. The unconditional precipitation rate derived from the adjusted data obtained over the TRMM coverage area decreases by 0.90% as compared with that determined from the original data. This decrease is mainly caused by reductions in the detection of light precipitation.

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Riku Shimizu
,
Shoichi Shige
,
Toshio Iguchi
,
Cheng-Ku Yu
, and
Lin-Wen Cheng

Abstract

The Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR), which consists of a Ku-band precipitation radar (KuPR) and a Ka-band precipitation radar (KaPR) on board the GPM Core Observatory, cannot observe precipitation at low altitudes near the ground contaminated by surface clutter. This near-surface region is called the blind zone. DPR estimates the clutter-free bottom (CFB), which is the lowest altitude not included in the blind zone, and estimates precipitation at altitudes higher than the CFB. High CFBs, which are common over mountainous areas, represent obstacles to detection of shallow precipitation and estimation of low-level enhanced precipitation. We compared KuPR data with rain gauge data from Da-Tun Mountain of northern Taiwan acquired from March 2014 to February 2020. A total of 12 cases were identified in which the KuPR missed some rainfall with intensity of >10 mm h−1 that was observed by rain gauges. Comparison of KuPR profile and ground-based radar profile revealed that shallow precipitation in the KuPR blind zone was missed because the CFB was estimated to be higher than the lower bound of the range free from surface echoes. In the original operational algorithm, CFB was estimated using only the received power data of the KuPR. In this study, the CFB was identified by the sharp increase in the difference between the received powers of the KuPR and the KaPR at altitude affected by surface clutter. By lowering the CFB, the KuPR succeeded in detection and estimation of shallow precipitation.

Significance Statement

The Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) on board the GPM Core Observatory cannot capture precipitation in the low-altitude region near the ground contaminated by surface clutter. This region is called the blind zone. The DPR estimates the clutter-free bottom (CFB), which is the lower bound of the range free from surface echoes, and uses data higher than CFB. DPR consists of a Ku-band precipitation radar (KuPR) and a Ka-band precipitation radar (KaPR). KuPR missed some shallow precipitation more than 10 mm h−1 in the blind zone over Da-Tun Mountain of northern Taiwan because of misjudged CFB estimation. Using both the KuPR and the KaPR, we improved the CFB estimation algorithm, which lowered the CFB, narrowed the blind zone, and improved the capability to detect shallow precipitation.

Open access
Robert Meneghini
,
Toshio Iguchi
,
Toshiaki Kozu
,
Liang Liao
,
Ken’ichi Okamoto
,
Jeffrey A. Jones
, and
John Kwiatkowski

Abstract

Estimates of rain rate from the precipitation radar (PR) aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite require a means by which the radar signal attenuation can be corrected. One of the methods available is the surface reference technique in which the radar surface return in rain-free areas is used as a reference against which the path-integrated attenuation is obtained. Despite the simplicity of the basic concept, an assessment of the reliability of the technique is difficult because the statistical properties of the surface return depend not only on surface type (land/ocean) and incidence angle, but on the detailed nature of the surface scattering. In this paper, a formulation of the technique and a description of several surface reference datasets that are used in the operational algorithm are presented. Applications of the method to measurements from the PR suggest that it performs relatively well over the ocean in moderate to heavy rains. An indication of the reliability of the results can be gained by comparing the estimates derived from different reference datasets.

Full access
Takuji Kubota
,
Shinta Seto
,
Masaki Satoh
,
Tomoe Nasuno
,
Toshio Iguchi
,
Takeshi Masaki
,
John M. Kwiatkowski
, and
Riko Oki

Abstract

An assumption related to clouds is one of uncertain factors in precipitation retrievals by the Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) on board the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory. While an attenuation due to cloud ice is negligibly small for Ku and Ka bands, attenuation by cloud liquid water is larger in the Ka band and estimating precipitation intensity with high accuracy from Ka-band observations can require developing a method to estimate the attenuation due to cloud liquid water content (CLWC). This paper describes a CLWC database used in the DPR level-2 algorithm for the GPM V06A product. In the algorithm, the CLWC value is assumed using the database with inputs of precipitation-related variables, temperature, and geolocation information. A calculation of the database was made using the 3.5-km-mesh global atmospheric simulation derived from the Nonhydrostatic Icosahedral Atmospheric Model (NICAM) global cloud-system-resolving model. Impacts of current CLWC assumptions for surface precipitation estimates were evaluated by comparisons of precipitation retrieval results between default values and 0 mg m−3 of the CLWC. The impacts were quantified by the normalized mean absolute difference (NMAD) and the NMAD values showed 2.3% for the Ku, 9.9% for the Ka, and 6.5% for the dual-frequency algorithms in global averages, while they were larger in the tropics than in high latitudes. Effects of the precipitation estimates from the CLWC assumption were examined further in terms of retrieval processes affected by the CLWC assumption. This study emphasizes the CLWC assumption provided more effects on the precipitation estimates through estimating path-integrated attenuation due to rain.

Open access
Arthur Y. Hou
,
Ramesh K. Kakar
,
Steven Neeck
,
Ardeshir A. Azarbarzin
,
Christian D. Kummerow
,
Masahiro Kojima
,
Riko Oki
,
Kenji Nakamura
, and
Toshio Iguchi

Precipitation affects many aspects of our everyday life. It is the primary source of freshwater and has significant socioeconomic impacts resulting from natural hazards such as hurricanes, floods, droughts, and landslides. Fundamentally, precipitation is a critical component of the global water and energy cycle that governs the weather, climate, and ecological systems. Accurate and timely knowledge of when, where, and how much it rains or snows is essential for understanding how the Earth system functions and for improving the prediction of weather, climate, freshwater resources, and natural hazard events.

The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is an international satellite mission specifically designed to set a new standard for the measurement of precipitation from space and to provide a new generation of global rainfall and snowfall observations in all parts of the world every 3 h. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched the Core Observatory satellite on 28 February 2014 carrying advanced radar and radiometer systems to serve as a precipitation physics observatory. This will serve as a transfer standard for improving the accuracy and consistency of precipitation measurements from a constellation of research and operational satellites provided by a consortium of international partners. GPM will provide key measurements for understanding the global water and energy cycle in a changing climate as well as timely information useful for a range of regional and global societal applications such as numerical weather prediction, natural hazard monitoring, freshwater resource management, and crop forecasting.

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Gail Skofronick-Jackson
,
Walter A. Petersen
,
Wesley Berg
,
Chris Kidd
,
Erich F. Stocker
,
Dalia B. Kirschbaum
,
Ramesh Kakar
,
Scott A. Braun
,
George J. Huffman
,
Toshio Iguchi
,
Pierre E. Kirstetter
,
Christian Kummerow
,
Robert Meneghini
,
Riko Oki
,
William S. Olson
,
Yukari N. Takayabu
,
Kinji Furukawa
, and
Thomas Wilheit

Abstract

Precipitation is a key source of freshwater; therefore, observing global patterns of precipitation and its intensity is important for science, society, and understanding our planet in a changing climate. In 2014, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory (CO) spacecraft. The GPM CO carries the most advanced precipitation sensors currently in space including a dual-frequency precipitation radar provided by JAXA for measuring the three-dimensional structures of precipitation and a well-calibrated, multifrequency passive microwave radiometer that provides wide-swath precipitation data. The GPM CO was designed to measure rain rates from 0.2 to 110.0 mm h−1 and to detect moderate to intense snow events. The GPM CO serves as a reference for unifying the data from a constellation of partner satellites to provide next-generation, merged precipitation estimates globally and with high spatial and temporal resolutions. Through improved measurements of rain and snow, precipitation data from GPM provides new information such as details on precipitation structure and intensity; observations of hurricanes and typhoons as they transition from the tropics to the midlatitudes; data to advance near-real-time hazard assessment for floods, landslides, and droughts; inputs to improve weather and climate models; and insights into agricultural productivity, famine, and public health. Since launch, GPM teams have calibrated satellite instruments, refined precipitation retrieval algorithms, expanded science investigations, and processed and disseminated precipitation data for a range of applications. The current status of GPM, its ongoing science, and its future plans are presented.

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