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A Satellite Technique for Quantitatively Mapping Rainfall Rates over the Oceans

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  • a Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. 20771
  • | b Environmental Research and Technology, Inc., Concord, Mass. 01742
  • | c Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. 20771
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Abstract

A theoretical model for calculating microwave radiative transfer in raining atmospheres is developed. These calculations are compared with microwave brightness temperatures at a wavelength of 1.55 cm measured by the Electrically Scanning Microwave Radiometer (ESMR) on the Nimbus 5 satellite and rain rates derived from WSR-57 meteorological radar measurements. A specially designed ground-based verification experiment was also performed, wherein upward viewing microwave brightness temperature measurements at wavelengths of 1.55 and 0.81 cm were compared with directly measured rain rates. It is shown that over ocean areas, brightness temperature measurements from ESMR may be interpreted in terms of rain rate with about an accuracy of a factor of 2 over the range 1–25 mm h−1 rain rate.

Abstract

A theoretical model for calculating microwave radiative transfer in raining atmospheres is developed. These calculations are compared with microwave brightness temperatures at a wavelength of 1.55 cm measured by the Electrically Scanning Microwave Radiometer (ESMR) on the Nimbus 5 satellite and rain rates derived from WSR-57 meteorological radar measurements. A specially designed ground-based verification experiment was also performed, wherein upward viewing microwave brightness temperature measurements at wavelengths of 1.55 and 0.81 cm were compared with directly measured rain rates. It is shown that over ocean areas, brightness temperature measurements from ESMR may be interpreted in terms of rain rate with about an accuracy of a factor of 2 over the range 1–25 mm h−1 rain rate.

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