Aircraft Microwave Observations and Simulations of Deep Convection from 18 to 183 GHz. Part I: Observations

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  • 1 Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 2 General Sciences Corporation, Laurel, Maryland
  • | 3 Caelum Research Corporation, Silver Spring, Maryland
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Abstract

Aircraft passive microwave observations of deep atmospheric convection at frequencies between 18 and 183 GHz are presented in conjunction with visible and infrared satellite and aircraft observations and ground-based radar observations. Deep convective cores are indicated in the microwave data by negative brightness temperature (TB) deviations from the land background (270 K) to extreme TB values below 100 K at 37, 92, and 183 GHz and below 200 K at 18 GHz. These TB minima, due to scattering by ice held aloft by the intense updrafts, are well correlated with areas of high radar reflectivity. For this land background case, TB is inversely correlated with rain rate at all frequencies due to TB-ice-rain correlations. Mean ΔT between vertically polarized and horizontally polarized radiance in precipitation areas is approximately 6 K at both 18 GHz and 37 GHz, indicating nonspherical precipitation size ice particles with a preferred horizontal orientation. Convective cores not observed in the visible and infrared data are clearly defined in the microwave observations and borders of convective rain areas are well defined using the high-frequency (90 GHz and greater) microwave observations.

Abstract

Aircraft passive microwave observations of deep atmospheric convection at frequencies between 18 and 183 GHz are presented in conjunction with visible and infrared satellite and aircraft observations and ground-based radar observations. Deep convective cores are indicated in the microwave data by negative brightness temperature (TB) deviations from the land background (270 K) to extreme TB values below 100 K at 37, 92, and 183 GHz and below 200 K at 18 GHz. These TB minima, due to scattering by ice held aloft by the intense updrafts, are well correlated with areas of high radar reflectivity. For this land background case, TB is inversely correlated with rain rate at all frequencies due to TB-ice-rain correlations. Mean ΔT between vertically polarized and horizontally polarized radiance in precipitation areas is approximately 6 K at both 18 GHz and 37 GHz, indicating nonspherical precipitation size ice particles with a preferred horizontal orientation. Convective cores not observed in the visible and infrared data are clearly defined in the microwave observations and borders of convective rain areas are well defined using the high-frequency (90 GHz and greater) microwave observations.

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