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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.

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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.

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Ye Hong, Christian D. Kummerow, and William S. Olson

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This paper presents a new scheme that classifies convective and stratiform (C/S) precipitation areas over oceans using microwave brightness temperature. In this scheme, data are first screened to eliminate nonraining pixels. For raining pixels, C/S indices are computed from brightness temperatures and their variability for emission (19 and 37 GHz) and scattering (85 GHz). Since lower-resolution satellite data generally contain mixtures of convective and stratiform precipitation, a probability matching method is employed to relate the C/S index to a convective fraction of precipitation area.

The scheme has been applied on synthetic data generated from a dynamical cloud model and radiative transfer computations to simulate the frequencies and resolutions of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave (TMI) Imager as well as the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I). The results from simulated TMI data during the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment agree very well with the ground-based radar classification maps. The classification accuracy degrades when SSM/I data is used, due largely to the lower spatial resolution of the SSM/I.

The successful launch of TRMM satellite in November 1997 has made it possible to test this scheme on actual TMI data. Preliminary results of TMI derived C/S classification compared with that from the first spaceborne precipitation radar has shown a very good agreement. Further verification and improvement of this scheme are under way.

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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.

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Clément Guilloteau, Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Christian D. Kummerow, and Veljko Petković

Abstract

The scattering of microwaves at frequencies between 50 and 200 GHz by ice particles in the atmosphere is an essential element in the retrieval of instantaneous surface precipitation from spaceborne passive radiometers. This paper explores how the variable distribution of solid and liquid hydrometeors in the atmospheric column over land surfaces affects the brightness temperature (TB) measured by GMI at 89 GHz through the analysis of Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) reflectivity profiles along the 89-GHz beam. The objective is to refine the statistical relations between observed TBs and surface precipitation over land and to define their limits. As GMI is scanning with a 53° Earth incident angle, the observed atmospheric volume is actually not a vertical column, which may lead to very heterogeneous and seemingly inconsistent distributions of the hydrometeors inside the beam. It is found that the 89-GHz TB is mostly sensitive to the presence of ice hydrometeors several kilometers above the 0°C isotherm, up to 10 km above the 0°C isotherm for the deepest convective systems, but is a modest predictor of the surface precipitation rate. To perform a precise mapping of atmospheric ice, the altitude of the individual ice clusters must be known. Indeed, if variations in the altitude of ice are not accounted for, then the high incident angle of GMI causes a horizontal shift (parallax shift) between the estimated position of the ice clusters and their actual position. We show here that the altitude of ice clusters can be derived from the 89-GHz TB itself, allowing for correction of the parallax shift.

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Janice L. Bytheway, Christian D. Kummerow, and Curtis Alexander

Abstract

The High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model has been the National Weather Service’s (NWS) operational rapid update model since 2014. The HRRR has undergone continual development, including updates to the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model core, the data assimilation system, and the various physics packages in order to better represent atmospheric processes, with updated operational versions of the model being implemented approximately every spring. Given the model’s intent for use in convective precipitation forecasting, it is of interest to examine how forecasts of warm season precipitation have changed as a result of the continued model upgrades. A features-based assessment is performed on the first 6 h of HRRR quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPFs) from the 2013, 2014, and 2015 versions of the model over the U.S. central plains in an effort to understand how specific aspects of QPF performance have evolved as a result of continued model development. Significant bias changes were found with respect to precipitation intensity. Model upgrades that increased boundary layer stability and reduced the strength of the latent heating perturbations in the data assimilation were found to reduce southward biases in convective initiation, reduce the tendency for the model to overestimate heavy rainfall, and improve the representation of convective initiation.

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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.

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Ting-Chi Wu, Milija Zupanski, Lewis D. Grasso, Christian D. Kummerow, and Sid-Ahmed Boukabara

Abstract

Satellite all-sky radiances from the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) are assimilated into the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) Model using the hybrid Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation analysis system (GSI). To extend the all-sky capability recently developed for global applications to HWRF, some modifications in HWRF and GSI are facilitated. In particular, total condensate is added as a control variable, and six distinct hydrometeor habits are added as state variables in hybrid GSI within HWRF. That is, clear-sky together with cloudy and precipitation-affected satellite pixels are assimilated using the Community Radiative Transfer Model (CRTM) as a forward operator that includes hydrometeor information and Jacobians with respect to hydrometeor variables. A single case study with the 2014 Atlantic storm Hurricane Cristobal is used to demonstrate the methodology of extending the global all-sky capability to HWRF due to ATMS data availability. Two data assimilation experiments are carried out. One experiment uses the operational configuration and assimilates ATMS radiances under the clear-sky condition, and the other experiment uses the modified HWRF system and assimilates ATMS radiances under the all-sky condition with the inclusion of total condensate update and cycling. Observed and synthetic Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-13 data along with Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) Microwave Imager (GMI) data from the two experiments are used to show that the experiment with all-sky ATMS radiances assimilation has cloud signatures that are supported by observations. In contrast, there is lack of clouds in the initial state that led to a noticeable lag of cloud development in the experiment that assimilates clear-sky radiances.

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Joshua M. King, Christian D. Kummerow, Susan C. van den Heever, and Matthew R. Igel

Abstract

Observed and modeled rainfall occurrence from shallow (warm) maritime clouds and their composite statistical relationships with cloud macrophysical properties are analyzed and directly compared. Rain falls from ~25% of warm, single-layered, maritime clouds observed by CloudSat and from ~27% of the analogous warm clouds simulated within a large-domain, fine-resolution radiative–convective equilibrium experiment performed using the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS), with its sophisticated bin-emulating bulk microphysical scheme. While the fractional occurrence of observed and simulated warm rainfall is found to increase with both increasing column-integrated liquid water and cloud depth, calculations of rainfall occurrence as a joint function of these two macrophysical quantities suggest that the modeled bulk cloud-to-rainwater conversion process is more efficient than observations indicate—in agreement with previous research. Unexpectedly and in opposition to the model-derived relationship, deeper CloudSat-observed warm clouds with little column water mass are more likely to rain than their corresponding shallow counterparts, despite having lower cloud-mean water contents. Given that these composite relationships were derived from statically identified warm clouds, an attempt is made to quantitatively explore rainfall occurrence within the context of the warm cloud life cycle. Extending a previously established cloud-top buoyancy analysis technique, it is shown that rainfall likelihoods from positively buoyant RAMS-simulated clouds more closely resemble the surprising observed relationships than do those derived from negatively buoyant simulated clouds. This suggests that relative to the depiction of warm clouds within the RAMS output, CloudSat observes higher proportions of positively buoyant, developing warm clouds.

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William S. Olson, Peter Bauer, Christian D. Kummerow, Ye Hong, and Wei-Kuo Tao

Abstract

The one-dimensional, steady-state melting-layer model developed in Part I of this study is used to calculate both the microphysical and radiative properties of melting precipitation, based upon the computed concentrations of snow and graupel just above the freezing level at applicable horizontal grid points of three-dimensional cloud-resolving model simulations. The modified 3D distributions of precipitation properties serve as input to radiative transfer calculations of upwelling radiances and radar extinction/reflectivities at the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI) and precipitation radar (PR) frequencies, respectively. At the resolution of the cloud-resolving model grids (∼1 km), upwelling radiances generally increase if mixed-phase precipitation is included in the model atmosphere. The magnitude of the increase depends upon the optical thickness of the cloud and precipitation, as well as the scattering characteristics of the mixed-phase particles and ice-phase precipitation aloft. Over the set of cloud-resolving model simulations utilized in this study, maximum radiance increases of 43, 28, 18, and 10 K are simulated at 10.65, 19.35, 37.0, and 85.5 GHz, respectively. The impact of melting on TMI-measured radiances is determined not only by the physics of the melting particles but also by the horizontal extent of the melting precipitation, given that the lower-frequency channels have footprints that extend over tens of kilometers. At TMI resolution, the maximum radiance increases are 16, 15, 12, and 9 K at the same frequencies. Simulated PR extinction and reflectivities in the melting layer can increase dramatically if mixed-phase precipitation is included, a result consistent with previous studies. Maximum increases of 0.46 (−2 dB) in extinction optical depth and 5 dB in reflectivity are simulated based upon the set of cloud-resolving model simulations.

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