First Results of the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) Monthly Oceanic Rain Rate: Comparison with SSM/I

A.T. C. Chang, L. S. Chiu, C. Kummerow, J. Meng

Earth Sciences Directorate, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

T. T. Wilheit

Meteorology Department, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas


We evaluated the performance of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI) at?launch algorithm for monthly oceanic rain rate using six months (January - June 1998) of TMI data. Comparison with oceanic monthly rain rates derived from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) data shows statistically significant differences. The TMI rain rates are lower than the SSM/I rain rates by about 10% overall, except for rain rates lower than 1.4 min/day. The low TMI bias may be due to an overestimate of the columnar water vapor as indicated by the estimated rain layer thickness. The superior sampling by the TMI improves the algorithm statistics at the low rain rates. The averaged monthly rain rates over the latitudes between 40 degrees S and 40 degrees N are 2.78 and 3.17 mm/day, respectively for TMI and SSM/I, with RMS difference of 1.35 mm/day and correlation coefficient of 0.94.