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  • Author or Editor: Christian D. Kummerow x
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Ryan Gonzalez and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

Snowfall and snowpack are tightly coupled within the snow water cycle and careful monitoring is crucial to better understand snow’s role in Earth’s water and energy cycles. Current and future estimates of the total amount of seasonal snow on the ground are limited by the variability in the initial snowfall and uncertainties in in situ and remote sensing observations. In this study, passive microwave remote sensing estimates of snowfall and snow water equivalent (SWE) from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) instrument are used to assess the consistency in the snow products. A snow evolution model, SnowModel, is employed to simulate snow processes that occur between the initial snowfall and subsequent SWE. AMSR-E is found to have significant discrepancies in both snowfall and SWE compared to MERRA-2 reanalysis and the Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC) snow product. It is shown that AMSR-E snowfall is currently not a useful metric to estimate SWE without applying large corrections throughout the winter season. Regions of consistency in the AMSR-E snow products occur for reasons that pertain to underestimation in both snowfall and SWE. In addition to snow consistency, microwave brightness temperatures (TBs) are analyzed in response to the snowpack and snowfall physical properties. These experiments indicate significant sensitivity to regime-dependent scattering characteristics that must be accounted for to accurately estimate global snow properties and provide better physical consistency in the snow products from remote sensing platforms.

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Veljko Petković and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

An updated version of the Goddard Profiling Algorithm (GPROF 2014) with a new overland scheme was released with the launch of the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) core satellite in February 2014. The algorithm is designed to provide consistent precipitation estimates over both ocean and land across diverse satellite platforms. This study tests the performance of the new retrieval, focusing specifically on an extreme rainfall event. Two contrasting 72-h precipitation events over the same area are used to compare the retrieved products against ground measurements. The first event is characterized by persistent and intense precipitation of an unusually strong and widespread system, which caused historical flooding of the central Balkan region of southeastern Europe in May 2014. The second event serves as a baseline case for a more typical midlatitude regime. Rainfall rates and 3-day accumulations given by five conically scanning radiometers (GMI; AMSR2; and SSMIS F16, F17, and F18) in the GPM constellation are compared against ground radar data from the Operational Program for Exchange of Weather Radar Information (OPERA) network and in situ measurements. Satellite products show good agreement with ground radars; the retrieval closely reproduces spatial and temporal characteristics of both events. Strong biases related to precipitation regimes are found when satellite and radar measurements are compared to ground gauges. While the GPM constellation performs well during the nonextreme event, showing ~10% negative bias, it underestimates gauge accumulations of the Balkan flood event by 60%. Analyses show that the biases are caused by the differences between the expected and observed ice-scattering signals, suggesting that better understanding of the environment and its impact on rain profiles is the key for successful retrievals in extreme events.

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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.

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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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Veljko Petković, Christian D. Kummerow, David L. Randel, Jeffrey R. Pierce, and John K. Kodros

Abstract

Prominent achievements made in addressing global precipitation using satellite passive microwave retrievals are often overshadowed by their performance at finer spatial and temporal scales, where large variability in cloud morphology poses an obstacle for accurate precipitation measurements. This is especially true over land, with precipitation estimates being based on an observed mean relationship between high-frequency (e.g., 89 GHz) brightness temperature depression (i.e., the ice-scattering signature) and surface precipitation rate. This indirect relationship between the observed (brightness temperatures) and state (precipitation) vectors often leads to inaccurate estimates, with more pronounced biases (e.g., −30% over the United States) observed during extreme events. This study seeks to mitigate these errors by employing previously established relationships between cloud structures and large-scale environments such as CAPE, wind shear, humidity distribution, and aerosol concentrations to form a stronger relationship between precipitation and the scattering signal. The GPM passive microwave operational precipitation retrieval (GPROF) for the GMI sensor is modified to offer additional information on atmospheric conditions to its Bayesian-based algorithm. The modified algorithm is allowed to use the large-scale environment to filter out a priori states that do not match the general synoptic condition relevant to the observation and thus reduces the difference between the assumed and observed variability in the ice-to-rain ratio. Using the ground Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) network over the United States, the results demonstrate outstanding potential in improving the accuracy of heavy precipitation over land. It is found that individual synoptic parameters can remove 20%–30% of existing bias and up to 50% when combined, while preserving the overall performance of the algorithm.

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