Search Results

You are looking at 21 - 30 of 61 items for

  • Author or Editor: Christian D. Kummerow x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Stephen W. Nesbitt, Edward J. Zipser, and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

An evaluation of the version-5 precipitation radar (PR; algorithm 2A25) and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI; algorithm 2A12) rainfall products is performed across the Tropics in two ways: 1) by comparing long-term TRMM rainfall products with Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) global rain gauge analyses and 2) by comparing the rainfall estimates from the PR and TMI on a rainfall feature-by-feature basis within the narrow swath of the PR using a 1-yr database of classified precipitation features (PFs). The former is done to evaluate the overall biases of the TMI and PR relative to “ground truth” to examine regional differences in the estimates; the latter allows a direct comparison of the estimates with the same sampling area, also identifying relative biases as a function of storm type. This study finds that the TMI overestimates rainfall in most of the deep Tropics and midlatitude warm seasons over land with respect to both the GPCC gauge analysis and the PR (which agrees well with the GPCC gauges in the deep Tropics globally), in agreement with past results. The PR is generally higher than the TMI in midlatitude cold seasons over land areas with gauges. The analysis by feature type reveals that the TMI overestimates relative to the PR are due to overestimates in mesoscale convective systems and in most features with 85-GHz polarization-corrected temperature of less than 250 K (i.e., with a significant optical depth of precipitation ice). The PR tended to be higher in PFs without an ice-scattering signature of less than 250 K. Normalized for a subset of features with a large rain volume (exceeding 104 mm h−1 km2) independent of the PF classification, features with TMI > PR in the Tropics tended to have a higher fraction of stratiform rainfall, higher IR cloud tops, more intense radar profiles and 85-GHz ice-scattering signatures, and larger rain areas, whereas the converse is generally true for features with PR > TMI. Subtropical-area PF bias characteristics tended not to have such a clear relationship (especially over the ocean), a result that is hypothesized to be due to the influence of more variable storm environments and the presence of frontal rain. Melting-layer effects in stratiform rain and a bias in the ice-scattering–rain relationship were linked to the TMI producing more rainfall than the PR. However, noting the distinct characteristic biases Tropics-wide by feature type, this study reveals that accounting for regime-dependent biases caused by the differing horizontal and vertical morphologies of precipitating systems may lead to a reduction in systematic relative biases in a microwave precipitation algorithm.

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
Thomas L. Bell, Prasun K. Kundu, and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

Quantitative use of satellite-derived maps of monthly rainfall requires some measure of the accuracy of the satellite estimates. The rainfall estimate for a given map grid box is subject to both remote sensing error and, especially in the case of low-orbiting satellites, sampling error due to the limited number of observations of the grid box provided by the satellite. A simple model of rain behavior predicts that rms random error in grid-box averages should depend in a simple way on the local average rain rate, and the predicted behavior has been seen in simulations using surface rain gauge and radar data. This relationship is examined using Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) satellite data obtained over the western equatorial Pacific during the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment. Rms error inferred directly from SSM/I rainfall estimates is found to be larger than was predicted from surface data and to depend less on local rain rate than was predicted. Preliminary examination of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) microwave estimates shows better agreement with surface data. A simple method of estimating rms error in satellite rainfall estimates is suggested, based on quantities that can be computed directly from the satellite data.

Full access
Hirohiko Masunaga, Tristan S. L’Ecuyer, and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

Regional and temporal variability in the vertical and horizontal characteristics of tropical precipitating clouds are investigated using the Precipitation Radar (PR) and the Visible and Infrared Scanner (VIRS) on board the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite. The present study focuses on the three oceanic regions (west, central, and east Pacific) together with two continental regions for comparison and the two separate time periods (February 1998 and February 2000) under different phases of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in order to examine regional and ENSO-related variations. The height spectrums of storms are investigated in terms of radar echo-top height and infrared brightness temperature. The variability in the spectrum clearly correlates with the large-scale circulation and its ENSO-related change. On the basis of the height spectrum, storm systems are classified into the four categories of shallow, cumulus congestus, deep stratiform, and deep convective. The deep stratiform and deep convective categories, both of which have very cold cloud tops, are differentiated by radar echo-top heights so that deep convective systems are accompanied with an appreciable amount of large frozen particles aloft. While shallow events are dominant in the probability of occurrence over relatively cold oceans, deep convective systems take their place for warmer sea surface temperatures (SSTs). The turnover occurs at the SST threshold of 28°–29°C for all the oceanic regions and years investigated except the west Pacific in 2000, for which deep convective systems prevail over the entire range of SST. Rain correlation-scale length (RCSL) and cloud correlation-scale length (CCSL) are introduced as statistical indicators of the horizontal scale of storms. While the RCSL is 8–18 km for shallow- and cumulus congestus–type clouds without significant regional and temporal variations, the RCSL and CCSL associated with deep stratiform and deep convective systems consistently exceed 100 km and exhibit a systematic variability. The RCSL and CCSL in the central and east Pacific, particularly, increase significantly in the El Niño year.

Full access
Anita D. Rapp, Christian Kummerow, Wesley Berg, and Brian Griffith

Abstract

Significant controversy surrounds the adaptive infrared iris hypothesis put forth by Lindzen et al., whereby tropical anvil cirrus detrainment is hypothesized to decrease with increasing sea surface temperature (SST). This dependence would act as an iris, allowing more infrared radiation to escape into space and inhibiting changes in the surface temperature. This hypothesis assumes that increased precipitation efficiency in regions of higher sea surface temperatures will reduce cirrus detrainment. Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite measurements are used here to investigate the adaptive infrared iris hypothesis. Pixel-level Visible and Infrared Scanner (VIRS) 10.8-μm brightness temperature data and precipitation radar (PR) rain-rate data from TRMM are collocated and matched to determine individual convective cloud boundaries. Each cloudy pixel is then matched to the underlying SST. This study examines single- and multicore convective clouds separately to directly determine if a relationship exists between the size of convective clouds, their precipitation, and the underlying SSTs. In doing so, this study addresses some of the criticisms of the Lindzen et al. study by eliminating their more controversial method of relating bulk changes of cloud amount and SST across a large domain in the Tropics. The current analysis does not show any significant SST dependence of the ratio of cloud area to surface rainfall for deep convection in the tropical western and central Pacific. Results do, however, suggest that SST plays an important role in the ratio of cloud area and surface rainfall for warm rain processes. For clouds with brightness temperatures between 270 and 280 K, a net decrease in cloud area normalized by rainfall of 5% per degree SST was found.

Full access
Andrew J. Negri, Robert F. Adler, and Christian D. Kummerow

Displays of multi-frequency passive microwave data from the Special Sensor Microwave/lmager (SSM/I) flying on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) spacecraft are presented. Observed brightness temperatures at 85.5 GHz (vertical and horizontal polarizations) and 37 GHz (vertical polarization) are respectively used to “drive” the red, green, and blue “guns” of a color monitor. The resultant false-color images can be used to distinguish land from water, highlight precipitation processes and structure over both land and water, and detail variations in other surfaces such as deserts, snow cover, and sea ice. The observations at 85.5 Ghz also add a previously unavailable frequency to the problem of rainfall estimation from space. Examples of mesoscale squall lines, tropical and extra-tropical storms, and larger-scale land and atmospheric features as “viewed” by the SSM/I are shown.

Full access
Tristan S. L'Ecuyer, Hirohiko Masunaga, and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

This paper explores changes in the principal components of observed energy budgets across the tropical Pacific in response to the strong 1998 El Niño event. Multisensor observations from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI), Visible and Infrared Scanner (VIRS), and precipitation radar (PR) instruments aboard TRMM are used to quantify changes in radiative and latent heating in the east and west Pacific in response to the different phases of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. In periods of normal east–west SST gradients there is substantial heating in the west Pacific and cooling in the east, implying strong eastward atmospheric energy transport. During the active phase of the El Niño, both the east and west Pacific tend toward local radiative–convective equilibrium resulting in their temporary energetic decoupling. It is further demonstrated that the response of these regions to ENSO-induced SST variability is directly related to changes in the characteristics of clouds and precipitation in each region. Through quantitative analysis of the radiative and latent heating properties of shallow, midlevel, and deep precipitation events and an equivalent set of nonprecipitating cloud systems, times of reduced atmospheric heating are found to be associated with a shift toward shallow and midlevel precipitation systems and associated low-level cloudiness. The precipitation from such systems is typically less intense, and they do not trap outgoing longwave radiation as efficiently as their deeper counterparts, resulting in reduced radiative and latent heating of the atmosphere. The results also suggest that the net effect of precipitating systems on top-of-the-atmosphere (TOA) fluxes and the efficiency with which they heat the atmosphere and cool the surface exhibit strong dependence on their surroundings. The sensitivity of cloud radiative impacts to the atmospheric and surface properties they act to modify implies the existence of strong feedbacks whose representation may pose a significant challenge to the climate modeling community.

Full access
S. Joseph Munchak, Christian D. Kummerow, and Gregory Elsaesser

Abstract

Raindrop size distribution (DSD) retrievals from two years of data gathered by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite and processed with a combined radar–radiometer algorithm over the oceans equatorward of 35° are examined for relationships with variables describing properties of the vertical precipitation profile, mesoscale organization, and background environment. In general, higher freezing levels and relative humidities (tropical environments) are associated with smaller reflectivity-normalized median drop size (ϵ DSD) than in the extratropics. Within the tropics, the smallest ϵ DSD values are found in large, shallow convective systems where warm rain formation processes are thought to be predominant, whereas larger sizes are found in the stratiform regions of organized deep convection. In the extratropics, the largest ϵ DSD values are found in the scattered convection that occurs when cold, dry continental air moves over the much warmer ocean after the passage of a cold front. These relationships are formally attributed to variables describing the large-scale environment, mesoscale organization, and profile characteristics via principal component (PC) analysis. The leading three PCs account for 23% of the variance in ϵ DSD at the individual profile level and 45% of the variance in 1°-gridded mean values. The geographical distribution of ϵ DSD is consistent with many of the observed regional reflectivity–rainfall (ZR) relationships found in the literature as well as discrepancies between the TRMM radar-only and radiometer-only precipitation products. In particular, midlatitude and tropical regions near land tend to have larger drops for a given reflectivity, whereas the smallest drops are found in the eastern Pacific Ocean intertropical convergence zone.

Full access
Rebecca A. Bolinger, Christian D. Kummerow, and Nolan J. Doesken

Abstract

Previous research has shown that the temperature and precipitation variability in the Upper Colorado River basin (UCRB) is correlated with large-scale climate variability [i.e., El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO)]. But this correlation is not very strong, suggesting the need to look beyond the statistics. Looking at monthly contributions across the basin, results show that February is least sensitive to variability, and a wet October could be a good predictor for a wet season. A case study of a wet and a dry year (with similar ENSO/PDO conditions) shows that the occurrence of a few large accumulating events is what drives the seasonal variability, and these large events can happen under a variety of synoptic conditions. Looking at several physical factors that can impact the amount of accumulation in any given event, it is found that large accumulating events (>10 mm in one day) are associated with westerly winds at all levels, higher wind speeds at all levels, and greater amounts of total precipitable water. The most important difference between a large accumulating and small accumulating event is the presence of a strong (>4 m s−1) low-level westerly wind. Because much more emphasis should be given to this more local feature, as opposed to large-scale variability, an accurate seasonal forecast for the basin is not producible at this time.

Full access
Clément Guilloteau, Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

The constellation of spaceborne passive microwave (MW) sensors, coordinated under the framework of the Precipitation Measurement Missions international agreement, continuously produces observations of clouds and precipitation all over the globe. The Goddard profiling algorithm (GPROF) is designed to infer the instantaneous surface precipitation rate from the measured MW radiances. The last version of the algorithm (GPROF-2014)—the product of more than 20 years of algorithmic development, validation, and improvement—is currently used to estimate precipitation rates from the microwave imager GMI on board the GPM core satellite. The previous version of the algorithm (GPROF-2010) was used with the microwave imager TMI on board TRMM. In this paper, TMI-GPROF-2010 estimates and GMI-GPROF-2014 estimates are compared with coincident active measurements from the Precipitation Radar on board TRMM and the Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar on board GPM, considered as reference products. The objective is to assess the improvement of the GPM-era microwave estimates relative to the TRMM-era estimates and diagnose regions where continuous improvement is needed. The assessment is oriented toward estimating the “effective resolution” of the MW estimates, that is, the finest scale at which the retrieval is able to accurately reproduce the spatial variability of precipitation. A wavelet-based multiscale decomposition of the radar and passive microwave precipitation fields is used to formally define and assess the effective resolution. It is found that the GPM-era MW retrieval can resolve finer-scale spatial variability over oceans than the TRMM-era retrieval. Over land, significant challenges exist, and this analysis provides useful diagnostics and a benchmark against which future retrieval algorithm improvement can be assessed.

Open access