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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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Veljko Petković and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

Analyses of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite rainfall estimates reveal a substantial disagreement between its active [Precipitation Radar (PR)] and passive [TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI)] sensors over certain regions. This study focuses on understanding the role of the synoptic state of atmosphere in these discrepancies over land regions where passive microwave (PMW) retrievals are limited to scattering signals. As such the variability in the relationship between the ice-induced scattering signal and the surface rainfall is examined. Using the Amazon River and central Africa regions as a test bed, it is found that the systematic difference seen between PR and TMI rainfall estimates is well correlated with both the precipitating system structure and the level of its organization. Relying on a clustering technique to group raining scenes into three broad but distinct organizational categories, it is found that, relative to the PR, deep-organized systems are typically overestimated by TMI while the shallower ones are underestimated. Results suggest that the storm organization level can explain up to 50% of the regional systematic difference between the two sensors. Because of its potential for retrieval improvement, the ability to forecast the level of systems organization is tested. The state of the atmosphere is found to favor certain storm types when constrained by CAPE, wind shear, dewpoint depression, and vertical humidity distribution. Among other findings, the observations reveal that the ratio between boundary layer and midtropospheric moisture correlates well with the organization level of convection. If adjusted by the observed PR-to-TMI ratio under a given environment, the differences between PMW and PR rainfall estimates are diminished, at maximum, by 30% in RMSE and by 40% in the mean.

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Veljko Petković and Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

A spatiotemporal correlation technique has been developed to combine satellite rainfall measurements using the spatial and temporal correlation of the rainfall fields to overcome problems of limited and infrequent measurements while accounting for the measurement accuracies. The relationship between the temporal and spatial correlation of the rainfall field is exploited to provide information about rainfall beyond instantaneous measurements. The technique is developed using synthetic radar data. Nine months of Operational Program for the Exchange of Weather Radar (OPERA) data are used on grid sizes of 100, 248, and 500 km with pixel resolutions of 8, 12, and 24 km to simulate satellite fields of view and are then applied to the real satellite data over the Southwest to calculate 3-h rainfall accumulations. The results are compared with the simple averaging technique, which takes a simple mean of the measurements as a constant rainfall rate over the entire accumulation period. Using synthetic data, depending on the time separation of the measurements and their accuracy, a spatiotemporal correlation technique has shown the potential to yield improvements of up to 40% in absolute error and up to 25% in root-mean-square error when compared with the simple averaging technique. When applied to the real satellite data over the Southeast, the technique showed much less skill (general improvement of only 2%–6%).

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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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Veljko Petković, Marko Orescanin, Pierre Kirstetter, Christian Kummerow, and Ralph Ferraro

Abstract

A decades-long effort in observing precipitation from space has led to continuous improvements of satellite-derived passive microwave (PMW) large-scale precipitation products. However, due to a limited ability to relate observed radiometric signatures to precipitation type (convective and stratiform) and associated precipitation rate variability, PMW retrievals are prone to large systematic errors at instantaneous scales. The present study explores the use of deep learning approach in extracting the information content from PMW observation vectors to help identify precipitation types. A deep learning neural network model (DNN) is developed to retrieve the convective type in precipitating systems from PMW observations. A 12-month period of Global Precipitation Measurement mission Microwave Imager (GMI) observations is used as a dataset for model development and verification. The proposed DNN model is shown to accurately predict precipitation types for 85% of total precipitation volume. The model reduces precipitation rate bias associated with convective and stratiform precipitation in the GPM operational algorithm by a factor of 2 while preserving the correlation with reference precipitation rates, and is insensitive to surface type variability. Based on comparisons against currently used convective schemes, it is concluded that the neural network approach has the potential to address regime-specific PMW satellite precipitation biases affecting GPM operations.

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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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Yalei You, Veljko Petkovic, Jackson Tan, Rachael Kroodsma, Wesley Berg, Chris Kidd, and Christa Peters-Lidard

Abstract

This study assesses the level-2 precipitation estimates from 10 radiometers relative to Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Ku-band precipitation radar (KuPR) in two parts. First, nine sensors—four imagers [Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) and three Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounders (SSMISs)] and five sounders [Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) and four Microwave Humidity Sounders (MHSs)]—are evaluated over the 65°S–65°N region. Over ocean, imagers outperform sounders, primarily due to the usage of low-frequency channels. Furthermore, AMSR2 is clearly superior to SSMISs, likely due to the finer footprint size. Over land all sensors perform similarly except the noticeably worse performance from ATMS and SSMIS-F17. Second, we include the Sondeur Atmospherique du Profil d’Humidite Intertropicale par Radiometrie (SAPHIR) into the evaluation process, contrasting it against other sensors in the SAPHIR latitudes (30°S–30°N). SAPHIR has a slightly worse detection capability than other sounders over ocean but comparable detection performance to MHSs over land. The intensity estimates from SAPHIR show a larger normalized root-mean-square-error over both land and ocean, likely because only 183.3-GHz channels are available. Currently, imagers are preferred to sounders when level-2 estimates are incorporated into level-3 products. Our results suggest a sensor-specific priority order. Over ocean, this study indicates a priority order of AMSR2, SSMISs, MHSs and ATMS, and SAPHIR. Over land, SSMIS-F17, ATMS and SAPHIR should be given a lower priority than the other sensors.

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Christian D. Kummerow, David L. Randel, Mark Kulie, Nai-Yu Wang, Ralph Ferraro, S. Joseph Munchak, and Veljko Petkovic

Abstract

The Goddard profiling algorithm has evolved from a pseudoparametric algorithm used in the current TRMM operational product (GPROF 2010) to a fully parametric approach used operationally in the GPM era (GPROF 2014). The fully parametric approach uses a Bayesian inversion for all surface types. The algorithm thus abandons rainfall screening procedures and instead uses the full brightness temperature vector to obtain the most likely precipitation state. This paper offers a complete description of the GPROF 2010 and GPROF 2014 algorithms and assesses the sensitivity of the algorithm to assumptions related to channel uncertainty as well as ancillary data. Uncertainties in precipitation are generally less than 1%–2% for realistic assumptions in channel uncertainties. Consistency among different radiometers is extremely good over oceans. Consistency over land is also good if the diurnal cycle is accounted for by sampling GMI product only at the time of day that different sensors operate. While accounting for only a modest amount of the total precipitation, snow-covered surfaces exhibit differences of up to 25% between sensors traceable to the availability of high-frequency (166 and 183 GHz) channels. In general, comparisons against early versions of GPM’s Ku-band radar precipitation estimates are fairly consistent but absolute differences will be more carefully evaluated once GPROF 2014 is upgraded to use the full GPM-combined radar–radiometer product for its a priori database. The combined algorithm represents a physically constructed database that is consistent with both the GPM radars and the GMI observations, and thus it is the ideal basis for a Bayesian approach that can be extended to an arbitrary passive microwave sensor.

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Lisa Milani, Mark S. Kulie, Daniele Casella, Pierre E. Kirstetter, Giulia Panegrossi, Veljko Petkovic, Sarah E. Ringerud, Jean-François Rysman, Paolo Sanò, Nai-Yu Wang, Yalei You, and Gail Skofronick-Jackson

Abstract

This study focuses on the ability of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) passive microwave sensors to detect and provide quantitative precipitation estimates (QPE) for extreme lake-effect snowfall events over the U.S. lower Great Lakes region. GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) high-frequency channels can clearly detect intense shallow convective snowfall events. However, GMI Goddard Profiling (GPROF) QPE retrievals produce inconsistent results when compared with the Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) ground-based radar reference dataset. While GPROF retrievals adequately capture intense snowfall rates and spatial patterns of one event, GPROF systematically underestimates intense snowfall rates in another event. Furthermore, GPROF produces abundant light snowfall rates that do not accord with MRMS observations. Ad hoc precipitation-rate thresholds are suggested to partially mitigate GPROF’s overproduction of light snowfall rates. The sensitivity and retrieval efficiency of GPROF to key parameters (2-m temperature, total precipitable water, and background surface type) used to constrain the GPROF a priori retrieval database are investigated. Results demonstrate that typical lake-effect snow environmental and surface conditions, especially coastal surfaces, are underpopulated in the database and adversely affect GPROF retrievals. For the two presented case studies, using a snow-cover a priori database in the locations originally deemed as coastline improves retrieval. This study suggests that it is particularly important to have more accurate GPROF surface classifications and better representativeness of the a priori databases to improve intense lake-effect snow detection and retrieval performance.

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