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C. Prabhakara, I. Wang, A. T. C. Chang, and P. Gloersen

Abstract

The Nimbus 7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) brightness temperature measurements over the global oceans have been examined with the help of statistical and empirical techniques. Such analyses show that zonal averages of brightness temperature measured by SMMR, over the oceans, on a large scale are primarily influenced by the water vapor in the atmosphere. Liquid water in the clouds and rain, which has a much smaller spatial and temporal scale, contributes substantially to the variability of the SMMR measurements within the latitudinal zones. The surface wind not only increase the surface emissivity but through its interactions with the atmosphere produces correlations, in the SMMR brightness temperature data, that have significant meteorological implications. It is found that a simple meteorological model can explain the general characteristics of these data. With the help of this model, methods are developed for investigation of surface temperature, liquid water content in the atmosphere, and surface wind speed over the global oceans. Monthly mean estimates of the sea surface temperature and surface winds are compared with ship measurements. Estimates of liquid water content in the atmosphere are consistent with earlier satellite measurements.

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P. Gloersen, T. T. Wilheit, T. C. Chang, W. Nordberg, and W. J. Campbell

Synoptic views of the entire polar regions of Earth have been obtained free of the usual persistent cloud cover using a scanning microwave radiometer operating at a wavelength of 1.55 cm on board the Nimbus-5 satellite. Three different views at each pole are presented utilizing data obtained at approximately one-month intervals during December 1972 to February 1973. The major discoveries resulting from an analysis of these data are as follows: 1) Large discrepancies exist between the long-term ice cover depicted in various atlases and the actual extent of the canopies. 2) The distribution of multiyear ice in the north polar region is markedly different from that predicted by existing ice dynamics models. 3) Irregularities in the edge of the Antarctic sea ice pack occur that have neither been observed previously nor anticipated. 4) The brightness temperatures of the Greenland and Antarctic glaciers show interesting contours probably related to the ice and snow morphologic structure.

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