Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
Caelum Research Corporation, Silver Spring, Maryland
NOAA/Satellite Research Laboratory, Camp Springs, Maryland
Steven J. Goodman
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama
Frank J. LaFontaine
Hughes STX, Huntsville, Alabama
Rainfall estimates produced from the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) data have been utilized operationally by the United States Navy since the launch of the first SSM/I sensor in June of 1987. The navy initially contracted Hughes Aircraft Company to develop a rainfall-retrieval algorithm prior to the launch of SSM/I. This first-generation operational navy rainfall retrieval algorithm, referred to as the D-Matrix algorithm, was used until the development of the second-generation algorithm by the SSM/I Calibration/Validation team, which has subsequently been replaced by a third-generation algorithm developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information System. Results from both the D-Matrix and Cal/Val algorithms have been included in a total of five algorithm intercomparison projects conducted through the Global Precipitation Climatology Project and WetNet. A comprehensive summary of both quantitative and qualitative results from these intercomparisons is given detailing many of the strengths and weaknesses of the algorithms. Based on these results, the D-Matrix algorithm was found to produce excessively large estimates over land and to poorly represent the spatial structure of rainfall systems, especially at higher latitudes. The Cal/Val algorithm produces more realistic structure within storm systems but appears to overestimate the region of precipitation for many systems and significantly underestimates regions of intense rainfall. While the Cal/Val algorithm appears to provide better instantaneous rainfall estimates in the Tropics, the D-Matrix algorithm provides reasonable time-averaged results for monthly or longer periods.