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David A. Short, Robert Meneghini, Amber E. Emory, and Mathew R. Schwaller


A spaceborne precipitation radar samples the vertical structure of precipitating hydrometeors from the top down. The viewing geometry and operating frequency result in certain limitations and opportunities. Among the limitations is attenuation of the radar signal that can cause the measured radar reflectivity factor to be substantially less than the desired quantity, the true radar reflectivity factor. Another error source is the spatial variability in precipitation rates that occurs at scales smaller than the sensor field of view (FOV), giving rise to the nonuniform beamfilling (NUBF) effect. The opportunities arise when the radar return from the surface can be used to obtain constraints on the path-integrated attenuation (PIA) for use in hybrid attenuation correction algorithms. The surface return can also provide some information on the degree of NUBF at off-nadir viewing angles. In this paper ground-based radar data are used to simulate spaceborne radar data at nadir and off-nadir viewing angles at Ku band and Ka band and to test attenuation correction algorithms in the presence of nonuniform beamfilling. The cross-FOV gradient in PIA is found to be an important characteristic for describing the performance of attenuation correction algorithms.

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Xiping Zeng, Gail Skofronick-Jackson, Lin Tian, Amber E. Emory, William S. Olson, and Rachael A. Kroodsma


Information about the characteristics of ice particles in clouds is necessary for improving our understanding of the states, processes, and subsequent modeling of clouds and precipitation for numerical weather prediction and climate analysis. Two NASA passive microwave radiometers, the satellite-borne Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Microwave Imager (GMI) and the aircraft-borne Conical Scanning Millimeter-Wave Imaging Radiometer (CoSMIR), measure vertically and horizontally polarized microwaves emitted by clouds (including precipitating particles) and Earth’s surface below. In this paper, GMI (or CoSMIR) data are analyzed with CloudSat (or aircraft-borne radar) data to find polarized difference (PD) signals not affected by the surface, thereby obtaining the information on ice particles. Statistical analysis of 4 years of GMI and CloudSat data, for the first time, reveals that optically thick clouds contribute positively to GMI PD at 166 GHz over all the latitudes and their positive magnitude of 166-GHz GMI PD varies little with latitude. This result suggests that horizontally oriented ice crystals in thick clouds are common from the tropics to high latitudes, which contrasts the result of Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) that horizontally oriented ice crystals are rare in optically thin ice clouds.

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Matthew L. Walker McLinden, Lihua Li, Gerald M. Heymsfield, Michael Coon, and Amber Emory


The NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center’s (GSFC’s) W-band (94 GHz) Cloud Radar System (CRS) has been comprehensively updated to modern solid-state and digital technology. This W-band (94 GHz) radar flies in nadir-pointing mode on the NASA ER-2 high-altitude aircraft, providing polarimetric reflectivity and Doppler measurements of clouds and precipitation. This paper describes the design and signal processing of the upgraded CRS. It includes details on the hardware upgrades (SSPA transmitter, antenna, and digital receiver) including a new reflectarray antenna and solid-state transmitter. It also includes algorithms, including internal loop-back calibration, external calibration using a direct relationship between volume reflectivity and the range-integrated backscatter of the ocean, and a modified staggered-PRF Doppler algorithm that is highly resistant to unfolding errors. Data samples obtained by upgraded CRS through recent NASA airborne science missions are provided.

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