Retrieval of Precipitation Profiles from Airborne Radar and Passive Radiometer Measurements: Comparison with Dual-Frequency Radar Measurements

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  • 1 Department of Meteorology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
  • 2 Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • 3 Communication Research Laboratory, Tokyo, Japan
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Abstract

This study compares precipitation rate profiles derived from a single frequency radar and radiometer with such profiles derived from a dual-frequency radar.

Measurements obtained during the 1985–86 CRL/NASA rain measuring experiment from airborne X- and Ka-band radars and an X-band passive microwave radiometer were used to derive rainfall rate profiles over the Atlantic Ocean. The rainfall retrieval employs the classical Hitschfeld-Bordan radar equation constrained by a measurement of the path integrated extinction derived from passive radiometry.

The path-integrated extinction obtained from the radiometric measurements was compared with that obtained from coincident dual-frequency radar reflection measurements from the ocean surface. The mean rainfall rate derived from the path-integrated extinction retrieved from the measured microwave radiances agreed within 25% with the mean rainfall rate obtained from the reflected radar signals.

An analysis of the errors in the retrieval algorithm showed that errors in the path-integrated extinction significantly affect the retrieved rainfall profiles near the surface. A least squares linear extrapolation of the profile in the lowest kilometer was used to revise the boundary condition in the retrieval. The profiles were solved iteratively until the rainfall rate at the surface was within the range of scatter about the linear profile at higher altitudes.

An optimization analysis was applied to the derivation of rainfall rate profiles retrieved from a dual-frequency radar data. The results of the retrieval were compared to those obtained from the radar-radiometer retrievers.

The availability of only an X-band radiometer limited the retrieval of rainfall rate profiles to maritime cases. It appears that it will be possible to measure rainfall under most conditions when radiometers operating at several higher frequencies become available on future airborne radar experiments.

Abstract

This study compares precipitation rate profiles derived from a single frequency radar and radiometer with such profiles derived from a dual-frequency radar.

Measurements obtained during the 1985–86 CRL/NASA rain measuring experiment from airborne X- and Ka-band radars and an X-band passive microwave radiometer were used to derive rainfall rate profiles over the Atlantic Ocean. The rainfall retrieval employs the classical Hitschfeld-Bordan radar equation constrained by a measurement of the path integrated extinction derived from passive radiometry.

The path-integrated extinction obtained from the radiometric measurements was compared with that obtained from coincident dual-frequency radar reflection measurements from the ocean surface. The mean rainfall rate derived from the path-integrated extinction retrieved from the measured microwave radiances agreed within 25% with the mean rainfall rate obtained from the reflected radar signals.

An analysis of the errors in the retrieval algorithm showed that errors in the path-integrated extinction significantly affect the retrieved rainfall profiles near the surface. A least squares linear extrapolation of the profile in the lowest kilometer was used to revise the boundary condition in the retrieval. The profiles were solved iteratively until the rainfall rate at the surface was within the range of scatter about the linear profile at higher altitudes.

An optimization analysis was applied to the derivation of rainfall rate profiles retrieved from a dual-frequency radar data. The results of the retrieval were compared to those obtained from the radar-radiometer retrievers.

The availability of only an X-band radiometer limited the retrieval of rainfall rate profiles to maritime cases. It appears that it will be possible to measure rainfall under most conditions when radiometers operating at several higher frequencies become available on future airborne radar experiments.

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