Search Results

You are looking at 11 - 20 of 60 items for

  • Author or Editor: Christian D. Kummerow x
  • All content x
Clear All Modify Search
S. Joseph Munchak and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

Although zonal mean rain rates from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) are in good (<10%) agreement between the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) and precipitation radar (PR) rainfall algorithms, significant uncertainties remain in some regions where these estimates differ by as much as 30% over the period of record. Previous comparisons of these algorithms with ground validation (GV) rainfall have shown significant (>10%) biases of differing sign at various GV locations. Reducing these biases is important in the context of developing a database of cloud profiles for passive microwave retrievals that is based upon the PR-measured profiles. A retrieval framework based upon optimal estimation theory is proposed wherein three parameters describing the raindrop size distribution (DSD), ice particle size distribution, and cloud water path (cLWP) are retrieved for each radar profile. The modular nature of the framework provides the opportunity to test the sensitivity of the retrieval to the inclusion of different measurements, retrieved parameters, and models for microwave scattering properties of hydrometeors. The retrieved rainfall rate is found to be strongly sensitive to the a priori constraints in DSD and cLWP; thus, these parameters are tuned to match polarimetric radar estimates of rainfall near Kwajalein, Republic of Marshall Islands. An independent validation against gauge-tuned radar rainfall estimates at Melbourne, Florida, shows agreement within 2%, which exceeds previous algorithms’ ability to match rainfall at these two sites. Errors between observed and simulated brightness temperatures are reduced and climatological features of the DSD, as measured by disdrometers at these two locations, are also reproduced in the output of the combined algorithm.

Full access
Gregory S. Elsaesser and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

Utilizing data from the Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT), a new observational parameter related to mesoscale cold pool activity [termed cold pool kinetic energy (CPKE)] is developed and investigated. CPKE and the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) morphing technique (CMORPH) rainfall product (both scaled to 2.25°) are geolocated to 25 tropical island radiosonde sites. CPKE and radiosonde-derived nondilute CAPE, entraining CAPE (ECAPE), saturation fraction, and a new measure of convective inhibition (that takes into account stable layers above the LFC) are investigated with respect to rainfall time tendencies. Over the life cycle of rainfall, the composite temporal evolutions of CPKE and convective inhibition are quantitatively similar, but slightly out of phase. The maximum in CPKE precedes the maximum in convective inhibition by 3–6 h, thus allowing for an oscillation in the ratio of convective inhibition to CPKE relative to maximum rainfall. This ratio falls below unity at the time rainfall begins increasing and averages to near unity over the entire life cycle. These results imply a lagged, coupled relationship between CPKE and convective inhibition during rainfall. The rapid increase in rainfall occurs when saturation fraction and ECAPE exceed approximately 70% and 280 J kg−1, respectively, consistent with previously noted thresholds for deep convection transition. However, since similar thermodynamic conditions are found before the increase in rainfall, observations support a hypothesis that the onset time for transition from light to heavy rainfall occurs when triggering energy (as captured in CPKE) approaches and exceeds convective inhibition. The observed onset and time scale for CAPE depletion by convection is nearly equivalent to the initial temporal appearance and time duration (6–12 h) that CPKE exceeds convective inhibition.

Full access
Paula J. Brown and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

Balancing global moisture budgets is a difficult task that is even more challenging at regional scales. Atmospheric water budget components are investigated within five tropical (15°S–15°N) ocean regions, including the Indian Ocean, three Pacific regions, and one Atlantic region, to determine how well data products balance these budgets. Initially, a selection of independent observations and a reanalysis product are evaluated to determine overall closure, between 1998 and 2007. Satellite-based observations from SeaFlux evaporation and Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) precipitation, together with Interim ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) data products, were chosen. Freshwater flux (evaporation minus precipitation) observations and reanalysis atmospheric moisture divergence regional averages are assessed for closure. Moisture budgets show the best closure over the Indian Ocean with a correlation of 89% and an overall imbalance of −3.0% of the anomalies. Of the five regions, the western Pacific Ocean region produces the worst atmospheric moisture budget closure of −21.1%, despite a high correlation of 93%. Average closure over the five regions is within 8.1%, and anomalies are correlated at 83%. ERA-Interim and Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) evaporation rates are 29 and 19 mm month−1 greater than SeaFlux, respectively. To diagnose the differences, wind speed and humidity gradients of the three products are compared utilizing the bulk formula for evaporation. SeaFlux wind speeds are higher, but sea–air humidity gradients are lower. Higher humidity gradients in the reanalyses are due to much dryer near-surface air in ERA-Interim, and the same to a lesser degree in MERRA. These differences counteract each other somewhat, but overall humidity biases exceed wind biases. This is consistent with buoy observations.

Full access
Nicolas Viltard, Corinne Burlaud, and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

This study focuses on improving the retrieval of rain from measured microwave brightness temperatures and the capability of the retrieved field to represent the mesoscale structure of a small intense hurricane. For this study, a database is constructed from collocated Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation radar (PR) and the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) data resulting in about 50 000 brightness temperature vectors associated with their corresponding rain-rate profiles. The database is then divided in two: a retrieval database of about 35 000 rain profiles and a test database of about 25 000 rain profiles. Although in principle this approach is used to build a database over both land and ocean, the results presented here are only given for ocean surfaces, for which the conditions for the retrieval are optimal. An algorithm is built using the retrieval database. This algorithm is then used on the test database, and results show that the error can be constrained to reasonable levels for most of the observed rain ranges. The relative error is nonetheless sensitive to the rain rate, with maximum errors at the low and high ends of the rain intensities (+60% and −30%, respectively) and a minimum error between 1 and 7 mm h−1. The retrieval method is optimized to exhibit a low total bias for climatological purposes and thus shows a high standard deviation on point-to-point comparisons. The algorithm is applied to the case of Hurricane Bret (1999). The retrieved rain field is analyzed in terms of structure and intensity and is then compared with the TRMM PR original rain field. The results show that the mesoscale structures are indeed well reproduced even if the retrieved rain misses the highest peaks of precipitation. Nevertheless, the mesoscale asymmetries are well reproduced and the maximum rain is found in the correct quadrant. Once again, the total bias is low, which allows for future calculation of the heat sources/sinks associated with precipitation production and evaporation.

Full access
Gregory S. Elsaesser and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

The Goddard profiling algorithm (GPROF) uses Bayesian probability theory to retrieve rainfall over the global oceans. A critical component of GPROF and most Bayes theorem–based retrieval frameworks is the specification of uncertainty in the observations being utilized to retrieve the parameter of interest. In the case of GPROF, for any sensor, uncertainties in microwave brightness temperatures (Tbs) arise from radiative transfer model errors, satellite sensor noise and/or degradation, and nonlinear, scene-dependent Tb offsets added during sensor intercalibration procedures. All mentioned sources impact sensors in a varying fashion, in part because of sensor-dependent fields of view. It is found that small errors in assumed Tb uncertainty (ranging from 0.57 K at 10 GHz to 2.29 K at 85 GHz) lead to a 3.6% change in the retrieved global-average oceanic rainfall rate, and 10%–20% (20%–40%) shifts in the pixel-level (monthly) frequency distributions for given rainfall bins. A mathematical expression describing the sensitivity of retrieved rainfall to uncertainty is developed here. The strong global sensitivity is linked to rainfall variance scaling systematically as Tb varies. For ocean scenes, the same emission-dominated rainfall–Tb physics used in passive microwave rainfall retrieval is also responsible for the substantial underestimation (overestimation) of global rainfall if uncertainty is overestimated (underestimated). Proper uncertainties are required to quantify variability in surface rainfall, assess long-term trends, and provide robust rainfall benchmarks for general circulation model evaluations. The implications for assessing global and regional biases in active versus passive microwave rainfall products, and for achieving rainfall product agreement among a constellation of orbiting microwave radiometers [employed in the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission], are also discussed.

Full access
Rebecca A. Smith and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

Using in situ, reanalysis, and satellite-derived datasets, surface and atmospheric water budgets of the Upper Colorado River basin are analyzed. All datasets capture the seasonal cycle for each water budget component. For precipitation, all products capture the interannual variability, though reanalyses tend to overestimate in situ while satellite-derived precipitation underestimates. Most products capture the interannual variability of evapotranspiration (ET), though magnitudes differ among the products. Variability and magnitude among storage volume change products widely vary. With regards to the surface water budget, the strongest connections exist among precipitation, ET, and soil moisture, while snow water equivalent (SWE) is best correlated with runoff. Using in situ precipitation estimates, the Max Planck Institute (MPI) ET estimates, and accumulated runoff, changes in storage are calculated and compare well with estimated changes in storage calculated using SWE, reservoir, and the Climate Prediction Center’s soil moisture. Using in situ precipitation estimates, MPI ET estimates, and atmospheric divergence estimates from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) results in a long-term atmospheric storage change estimate of −73 mm. Long-term surface storage estimates combined with long-term runoff come close to balancing with long-term atmospheric convergence from ERA-Interim. Increasing the MPI ET by 5% leads to a better balance between surface storage changes, runoff, and atmospheric convergence. It also brings long-term atmospheric storage changes to a better balance at +13 mm.

Restricted access
Richard M. Schulte and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

A flexible and physical optimal estimation-based inversion algorithm for retrieving atmospheric water vapor and cloud liquid water path from passive microwave radiometers over the global oceans is presented. The algorithm’s main strength lies in its ability to explicitly account for forward model errors that depend on the Earth incidence angle (EIA) at which a given radiometer measurement is made. Validation of total precipitable water (TPW) retrieved from Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) measurements against near-coincident estimates of TPW from SuomiNet GPS ground stations shows that retrieved TPW values agree closely with SuomiNet estimates, and somewhat better than values from the Microwave Integrated Retrieval System that are retrieved from the same MHS instruments. More importantly, it is found that the inclusion of appropriate forward model error assumptions, which are tailored to the EIA and sea surface temperature of the scene being considered, are able to almost entirely eliminate EIA-dependent biases in retrieved TPW. This result holds true across all satellites currently carrying an MHS instrument, despite the fact that only measurements from one satellite are used to estimate forward model errors. The consistency achieved by the retrieval algorithm across all view angles suggests that other inversion algorithms, particularly those for cross-track-scanning radiometers and potential future constellations of small satellites, would benefit from the inclusion of nuanced error assumptions that consider the effect of EIA.

Full access
Peter Bauer, Paul Amayenc, Christian D. Kummerow, and Eric A. Smith

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to establish a computationally efficient algorithm making use of the combination of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI) and precipitation radar (PR) observations. To set up the TMI algorithm, the retrieval databases developed in Part I served as input for different inversion techniques: multistage regressions and neural networks as well as Bayesian estimators. It was found that both Bayesian and neural network techniques performed equally well against PR estimates if all TMI channels were used. However, not using the 85.5-GHz channels produced consistently better results. This confirms the conclusions from Part I. Generally, regressions performed worse; thus they seem less suited for general application due to the insufficient representation of the nonlinearities of the TB–rain rate relation. It is concluded that the databases represent the most sensitive part of rainfall algorithm development.

Sensor combination was carried out by gridding PR estimates of rain liquid water content to 27 km × 44 km horizontal resolution at the center of gravity of the TMI 10.65-GHz channel weighting function. A liquid water dependent database collects common samples over the narrow swath covered by both TMI and PR. Average calibration functions are calculated, dynamically updated along the satellite track, and applied to the full TMI swath. The behavior of the calibration function was relatively stable. The TMI estimates showed a slight underestimation of rainfall at low rain liquid water contents (<0.1 g m−3) as well as at very high rainfall intensities (>0.8 g m−3) and excellent agreement in between. The biases were found to not depend on beam filling with a strong correlation to rain liquid water for stratiform clouds that may point to melting layer effects.

The remaining standard deviations between instantaneous TMI and PR estimates after calibration may be treated as a total retrieval error, assuming the PR estimates are unbiased. The error characteristics showed a rather constant absolute error of <0.05 g m−3 for rain liquid water contents <0.1 g m−3. Above, the error increases to 0.6 g m−3 for amounts up to 1 g m−3. In terms of relative errors, this corresponds to a sharp decrease from >100% to 35% between 0.05 and 0.5 g m−3. The database ambiguity, that is, the standard deviation of near-surface rain liquid water contents with the same radiometric signature, provides a means to estimate the contribution from the simulations to this error. In the range where brightness temperatures respond most sensitively to rainwater contents, almost the entire error originates from the ambiguity of signatures. At very low and very high rain rates (<0.05 and >0.7 g m−3) at least half of the total error is explained by the inversion process.

Full access
David S. Henderson, Christian D. Kummerow, and David A. Marks

Abstract

Ground radar rainfall, necessary for satellite rainfall product (e.g., TRMM and GPM) ground validation (GV) studies, is often retrieved using annual or climatological convective/stratiform Z–R relationships. Using the Kwajalein, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), polarimetric S-band weather radar (KPOL) and gauge network during the 2009 and 2011 wet seasons, the robustness of such rain-rate relationships is assessed through comparisons with rainfall retrieved using relationships that vary as a function of precipitation regime, defined as shallow convection, isolated deep convection, and deep organized convection. It is found that the TRMM-GV 2A53 rainfall product underestimated rain gauges by −8.3% in 2009 and −13.1% in 2011, where biases are attributed to rainfall in organized precipitation regimes. To further examine these biases, 2A53 GV rain rates are compared with polarimetrically tuned rain rates, in which GV biases are found to be minimized when rain relationships are developed for each precipitation regime, where, for example, during the 2009 wet-season biases in isolated deep precipitation regimes were reduced from −16.3% to −4.7%. The regime-based improvements also exist when specific convective and stratiform Z–R relationships are developed as a function of precipitation regime, where negative biases in organized convective events (−8.7%) are reduced to −1.6% when a regime-based Z–R is implemented. Negative GV biases during the wet seasons lead to an underestimation in accumulated rainfall when compared with ground gauges, suggesting that satellite-related bias estimates could be underestimated more than originally described. Such results encourage the use of the large-scale precipitation regime along with their respective locally characterized convective or stratiform classes in precipitation validation endeavors and in development of Z–R rainfall relationships.

Full access
William S. Olson, Ye Hong, Christian D. Kummerow, and Joseph Turk

Abstract

Observational and modeling studies have revealed the relationships between convective–stratiform rain proportion and the vertical distributions of vertical motion, latent heating, and moistening in mesoscale convective systems. Therefore, remote sensing techniques that can be used to quantify the area coverage of convective or stratiform rainfall could provide useful information regarding the dynamic and thermodynamic processes in these systems. In the current study, two methods for deducing the area coverage of convective precipitation from satellite passive microwave radiometer measurements are combined to yield an improved method. If sufficient microwave scattering by ice-phase precipitation is detected, the method relies mainly on the degree of polarization in oblique-view, 85.5-GHz radiances to estimate the fraction of the radiometer footprint covered by convection. In situations where ice scattering is minimal, the method draws mostly on texture information in radiometer imagery at lower microwave frequencies to estimate the convective area fraction.

Based upon observations of 10 organized convective systems over ocean and nine systems over land, instantaneous, 0.5°-resolution estimates of convective area fraction from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI) are compared with nearly coincident estimates from the TRMM precipitation radar (PR). TMI convective area fraction estimates are low-biased relative to PR estimates, with TMI–PR correlation coefficients of 0.78 and 0.84 over ocean and land surfaces, respectively. TMI monthly average convective area percentages in the Tropics and subtropics from February 1998 are greatest along the intertropical convergence zone and in the continental regions of the Southern (summer) Hemisphere. Although convective area percentages from the TMI are systematically lower than those derived from the PR, the monthly patterns of convective coverage are similar. Systematic differences in TMI and PR convective area percentages do not show any clear correlation or anticorrelation with differences in retrieved rain depths, and so discrepancies between TRMM version-5 TMI- and PR-retrieved rain depths are likely due to other sensor or algorithmic differences.

Full access