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Arief Sudradjat, Ralph R. Ferraro, and Michael Fiorino

Abstract

This study compares monthly total precipitable water (TPW) from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Water Vapor Project (NVAP) and reanalyses of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) (R-1), NCEP–Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP-II) (R-2), and the 40-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-40) from January 1988 through December 1999. Based on the means, NVAP exhibits systematic wetter land regions relative to the other datasets reflecting differences in their analyses due to paucity in radiosonde observations. ERA-40 is wetter in the atmospheric convergence zones than the U.S. reanalyses and NVAP ranges in between. Differences in the annual cycle between the reanalyses (especially R-2) and NVAP are also noticeable over the tropical oceans. Analyses on the interannual variabilities show that the ENSO-related spatial pattern in ERA-40 follows more coherently that of NVAP than those of the U.S. reanalyses. The 1997/98 El Niño’s effect on TPW is shown to be strongest only in NVAP, R-1, and ERA-40 during the period of study. All the datasets show TPW decreases in the Tropics following the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption. By subtracting SST-estimated TPW from the datasets, only NVAP and ERA-40 can well represent the spatial pattern of convergence and/or moist-air advection zones in the Tropics. Even though all the datasets are viable for water cycle and climate analyses with discrepancies (wetness and dryness) to be aware of, this study has found that NVAP and ERA-40 perform better than the U.S. reanalyses during the 12-yr period.

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Qihang Li, Ralph Ferraro, and Norman Grody

Abstract

Until recently, monthly rainfall products using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service Office of Research and Applications Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) rainfall algorithm have been generated on a global 2.5° × 2.5° grid. The rainfall estimates are based on a subsampled set of the full-resolution SSM/I data, with a resulting spatial density of about one-third of what is possible at SSM/I’s highest spatial resolution. The reduction in the spatial resolution was introduced in 1992 as a compromise dictated by data processing capabilities. Currently, daily SSM/I data processing at full resolution has been established and is being operated in parallel with the subsampled set. Reprocessing of the entire SSM/I time series based on the full-resolution data is plausible but requires the reprocessing of over 10 yr of retrospective data. Because the Global Precipitation Climatology Project is considering the generation of a daily 1° × 1° rainfall product, it is important that the effects of using the reduced spatial resolution be reexamined.

In this study, error due to using the reduced-resolution versus the full-resolution SSM/I data in the gridded products at 2.5° and 1° grid sizes is examined. The estimates are based on statistics from radar-derived rain data and from SSM/I data taken over the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) radar site. SSM/I data at full resolution were assumed to provide rain estimates with 12.5-km spacing. Subsampling with spacings of 25, 37.5 (which corresponds to the present situation of ⅓° latitude–longitude spatial resolution), and 50 km were considered. For the instantaneous 2.5° × 2.5° product, the error due to subsampling, expressed as a percentage of the gridbox mean, was estimated using radar-derived data and was 6%, 10%, and 15% at these successively poorer sampling densities. For monthly averaged products on a 2.5° × 2.5° grid, it was substantially lower: 3%, 4%, and 7%, respectively. Subsampling errors for monthly averages on a 1° × 1° grid were 8%, 16%, and 23%, respectively. Estimates based on SSM/I data at full resolution gave errors that were somewhat larger than those from radar-based estimates. It was concluded that a rain product of monthly averages on a 1° × 1° grid must use the full-resolution SSM/I data. More work is needed to determine how applicable these estimates are to other areas of the globe with substantially different rain statistics.

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Chris Kidd, Ralph Ferraro, and Vincenzo Levizzani

Abstract

No Abstract available.

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Jeffrey R. McCollum and Ralph R. Ferraro

Abstract

The microwave coastal rain identification procedure that has been used by NASA for over 10 yr, and also more recently by NOAA, for different instruments beginning with the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I), is updated for use with Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI) and Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR)-[Earth Observing System (EOS)] E microwave data. Since the development of the SSM/I algorithm, a wealth of both space-based and ground-based radar-rainfall estimates have become available, and here some of these data are used with collocated TMI and AMSR-E data to improve the estimation of coastal rain areas from microwave data. Two major improvements are made. The first involves finding the conditions where positive rain rates should be estimated rather than leaving the areas without estimates as in the previous algorithm. The second is a modification to the final step of the rain identification method; previously, a straight brightness temperature cutoff was used, but this is modified to a polarization-corrected temperature criterion. These modifications are made for the TRMM version 6 product release and the third (1 September) release of AMSR-E products to the public, both in 2004. The modifications are slightly different for each of these two sensors.

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Daniel Vila, Ralph Ferraro, and Hilawe Semunegus

Abstract

Global monthly rainfall estimates have been produced from more than 20 years of measurements from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program series of Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I). This is the longest passive microwave dataset available to analyze the seasonal, annual, and interannual rainfall variability on a global scale. The primary algorithm used in this study is an 85-GHz scattering-based algorithm over land, while a combined 85-GHz scattering and 19/37-GHz emission is used over ocean. The land portion of this algorithm is one of the components of the blended Global Precipitation Climatology Project rainfall climatology. Because previous SSM/I processing was performed in real time, only a basic quality control (QC) procedure had been employed to avoid unrealistic values in the input data. A more sophisticated, statistical-based QC procedure on the daily data grids (antenna temperature) was developed to remove unrealistic values not detected in the original database and was employed to reprocess the rainfall product using the current version of the algorithm for the period 1992–2007. Discrepancies associated with the SSM/I-derived monthly rainfall products are characterized through comparisons with various gauge-based and other satellite-derived rainfall estimates. A substantial reduction in biases was observed as a result of this QC scheme. This will yield vastly improved global rainfall datasets.

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Ralph R. Ferraro and Gerard F. Marks

Abstract

Rainfall algorithms developed for the DMSP Special Sensor Microwave/Imager are presented and then “calibrated” against ground-based radar measurements to develop instantaneous rain-rate retrieval algorithms. These include both scattering- and emission-based algorithms. Radar data from Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom have been used in the investigation. Because of the difficulties in accurately matching the satellite and radar measurements in both time and space, an approach where both measurements are grouped in 1 mm h−1 rain-rate bins provides a much more accurate set of measurements to be used in the derivation of coefficients for instantaneous rain-rate retrieval. Both linear and nonlinear relationships are developed, with the nonlinear fits being more accurate and supported by model simulations. An application of the derived instantaneous rain-rate relationships to an independent case is presented, with approximately a 10% error for the scattering algorithm when compared with radar-derived rain rates.

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Yalei You, Nai-Yu Wang, Ralph Ferraro, and Patrick Meyers

Abstract

A prototype precipitation algorithm for the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) was developed by using 3-yr coincident ground radar and ATMS observations over the continental United States (CONUS). Several major improvements to a previously published algorithm for the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMIS) include 1) considering the different footprint size of ATMS pixels, 2) calculating the uncertainty associated with the precipitation estimation, and 3) extending the algorithm to the 60°S–60°N region using only CONUS observations to construct the database. It is found that the retrieved and radar-observed rain rates agree well (e.g., correlation 0.66) and the one-standard-deviation error bar provides valuable retrieval uncertainty information. The geospatial pattern from the retrieved rain rate is largely consistent with that from radar observations. For the snowfall performance, the ATMS-retrieved results clearly capture the snowfall events over the Rocky Mountain region, while radar observations almost entirely miss the snowfall events over this region. Further, this algorithm is applied to the 60°S–60°N land region. The representative nature of rainfall over CONUS permitted the application of this algorithm to 60°S–60°N for rainfall retrieval, evidenced by the progress and retreat of the major rainbands. However, an artificially large snowfall rate is observed in several regions (e.g., Tibetan Plateau and Siberia) because of frequent false detection and overestimation caused by much colder brightness temperatures.

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Kaushik Gopalan, Nai-Yu Wang, Ralph Ferraro, and Chuntao Liu

Abstract

This paper describes improvements to the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI) land rainfall algorithm in version 7 (v7) of the TRMM data products. The correlations between rain rates and TMI 85-GHz brightness temperatures (Tb) for convective and stratiform rain are generated using 7 years of collocated TMI and TRMM precipitation radar (PR) data. The TMI algorithm for estimating the convective ratio of rainfall is also modified. This paper highlights both the improvements in the v7 algorithm and the continuing problems with the land rainfall retrievals. It is demonstrated that the proposed changes to the algorithm significantly lower the overestimation by TMI globally and over large sections of central Africa and South America. Also highlighted are the problems with the 2A12 land algorithm that have not been addressed in the version 7 algorithm, such as large regional and seasonal dependence of biases in the TMI rain estimates, and potential changes to the algorithm to resolve these problems are discussed.

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Yalei You, Nai-Yu Wang, Ralph Ferraro, and Scott Rudlosky

Abstract

This study uses Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Microwave Imager (GMI) and Ka-precipitation radar observations to quantify the snowfall detection performance for different channel (frequency) combinations. Results showed that the low-frequency-channel set contains limited snow detection information with a 0.34 probability of detection (POD). Much better performance is evident using the high-frequency channels (i.e., POD = 0.74). In addition, if only one high-frequency channel is allowed to be added to the low-frequency-channel set, adding the 183 ± 3 GHz channel presents the largest POD improvement (from 0.34 to 0.50). However, this does not imply that the water vapor is the key information for snowfall detection. Only using the high-frequency water vapor channels showed poor snowfall detection with POD at 0.13. Further analysis of all 8191 possible GMI channel combinations showed that the 166-GHz channels are indispensable for any channel combination with POD greater than 0.70. This suggests that the scattering signature, not the water vapor effect, is essential for snowfall detection. Data analysis and model simulation support this explanation. Finally, the GPM constellation radiometers are grouped into six categories based on the channel availability and their snowfall detection capability is estimated, using channels available on GMI. It is found that type-4 radiometer (all channels) has the best snowfall detection performance with a POD of 0.77. The POD values are only slightly smaller for the type-3 radiometer (high-frequency channels) and type-5 radiometer (all channels except 183 channels).

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David S. Crosby, Ralph R. Ferraro, and Helen Wu

Abstract

The SSM/I has been used successfully to estimate precipitation and to determine the fields of view (FOV) that contain precipitating clouds. The use of multivariate logistic regression with the SSM/I brightness temperatures to estimate the probability that it is raining in an FOV is examined. The predictors used in this study are those that have been evaluated by other investigators to estimate rain events using other procedures. The logistic regression technique is applied to a matched set of SSM/I and radar data for a limited area from June to August 1989. For this limited dataset the results are quite good. In one example, if the predicted probability is less than 0.1, the radar data shows only 2 of 340 FOVs have precipitation. If the predicted probability is greater than 0.9, the radar data shows precipitation in 748 of 774 FOVS. These probabilities can be used for both instantaneous and climate timescale retrievals.

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