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Heavy Thunderstorms Observed Over Land by the Nimbus 7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer

R. W. SpencerSpace Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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W. S. OlsonDepartment of Meteorology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Wu RongzhangSpace Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Department of Meteorology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Central Meteorological Bureau, Beijing, People's Republic of China

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D. W. MartinSpace Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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J. A. WeinmanSpace Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Department of Meteorology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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D. A. SantekSpace Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Abstract

In an examination of microwave data from the Nimbus 7 satellite, brightness temperatures were found that were much lower than those expected for the radiation emanating from rain-producing clouds. Every case of very cold brightness temperature coincided with heavy thunderstorm rainfall. The cold temperatures can be attributed to scattering by a layer of ice hydrometeors in the upper parts of the storms. Thus it appears that brightness temperatures observed by satellite microwave radiometers can at times distinguish heavy rain over land.

Abstract

In an examination of microwave data from the Nimbus 7 satellite, brightness temperatures were found that were much lower than those expected for the radiation emanating from rain-producing clouds. Every case of very cold brightness temperature coincided with heavy thunderstorm rainfall. The cold temperatures can be attributed to scattering by a layer of ice hydrometeors in the upper parts of the storms. Thus it appears that brightness temperatures observed by satellite microwave radiometers can at times distinguish heavy rain over land.

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