Diurnal Cycle of Oceanic Precipitation from SSM/I Data

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  • 1 Hydrological Sciences Branch, Laboratory for Hydrospheric Processes, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 2 SAIC/General Science Corporation, Laurel, Maryland
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Abstract

Four and a half years of the global monthly oceanic rain rates derived from the DMSP (Defense Meteorological Satellite Program) F-8 SSM/I (Special Sensor Microwave/Imager) data are used to study the diurnal cycles. Annual mean rainfall maps based on the SSM/I morning and evening observations are presented, and their differences are examined using a paired t test. The morning estimates are larger than the afternoon estimates by about 20% over the oceanic region between 50°S and 50°N, with significant differences located mainly along the intertropical convergence zone region. Using the measurements from two satellites, either DMSP F-8 and F-10 or DMSP F-10 and F-11, amplitudes and phases of the 24-h harmonic are estimated. The diurnal cycle shows a nocturnal or early morning maximum in 35%–40% of the oceanic regions. Monte Carlo simulations show that the rms errors associated with the estimated amplitude and phase are about 100% and 2 h, respectively, mainly due to the large random errors (50%) associated with the present rainfall estimates and the nonoptimal separation times of the DMSP satellite sampling.

Abstract

Four and a half years of the global monthly oceanic rain rates derived from the DMSP (Defense Meteorological Satellite Program) F-8 SSM/I (Special Sensor Microwave/Imager) data are used to study the diurnal cycles. Annual mean rainfall maps based on the SSM/I morning and evening observations are presented, and their differences are examined using a paired t test. The morning estimates are larger than the afternoon estimates by about 20% over the oceanic region between 50°S and 50°N, with significant differences located mainly along the intertropical convergence zone region. Using the measurements from two satellites, either DMSP F-8 and F-10 or DMSP F-10 and F-11, amplitudes and phases of the 24-h harmonic are estimated. The diurnal cycle shows a nocturnal or early morning maximum in 35%–40% of the oceanic regions. Monte Carlo simulations show that the rms errors associated with the estimated amplitude and phase are about 100% and 2 h, respectively, mainly due to the large random errors (50%) associated with the present rainfall estimates and the nonoptimal separation times of the DMSP satellite sampling.

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