Retrieval of Monthly Rainfall Indices from Microwave Radiometric Measurements Using Probability Distribution Functions

Thomas T. Wilheit NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

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Alfred T. C. Chang NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

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Long S. Chiu General Sciences Corporation, Laurel, Maryland

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Abstract

An algorithm for the estimation of monthly rain totals for 5° cells over the oceans from histograms of SSM/I brightness temperatures has been developed. Them are three novel features to this algorithm. First, it uses knowledge of the form of the rainfall intensity probability density function to augment the measurements. Second, a linear combination of the 19.35 and 22.235 GHz channels has been employed to reduce the impact of variability of water vapor. Third, an objective technique has been developed to estimate the rain layer thickness from the 19.35- and 22.235-GHz brightness temperature histograms. Comparison with climatologies and the GATE radar observations suggest that the estimates are reasonable in spite of not having a beam-filling correction. By-products of the retrievals indicate that the SSM/I instrument noise level and calibration stability am quite good.

Abstract

An algorithm for the estimation of monthly rain totals for 5° cells over the oceans from histograms of SSM/I brightness temperatures has been developed. Them are three novel features to this algorithm. First, it uses knowledge of the form of the rainfall intensity probability density function to augment the measurements. Second, a linear combination of the 19.35 and 22.235 GHz channels has been employed to reduce the impact of variability of water vapor. Third, an objective technique has been developed to estimate the rain layer thickness from the 19.35- and 22.235-GHz brightness temperature histograms. Comparison with climatologies and the GATE radar observations suggest that the estimates are reasonable in spite of not having a beam-filling correction. By-products of the retrievals indicate that the SSM/I instrument noise level and calibration stability am quite good.

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