An Observationally Generated a-priori Database for Microwave Rainfall Retrievals

Christian D. Kummerow, Sarah Ringerud, Jody Crook, David Randel, and Wesley Berg

Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

ABSTRACT

The combination of active and passive microwave sensors on board the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite have been used to construct observationally constrained databases of precipitation profiles for use in passive microwave rainfall retrieval algorithms over oceans. The method uses a very conservative approach that begins with the operational TRMM precipitation radar algorithm and adjusts its solution only as necessary to simultaneously match the radiometer observations. Where the TRMM precipitation radar (PR) indicates no rain, an optimal estimation procedure using TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) radiances is used to retrieve nonraining parameters. The optimal estimation methodology ensures that the geophysical parameters are fully consistent with the observed radiances. Within raining fields of view, cloud-resolving model outputs are matched to the liquid and frozen hydrometeor profiles retrieved by the TRMM PR. The profiles constructed in this manner are subsequently used to compute brightness temperatures that are immediately compared to coincident observations from TMI. Adjustments are made to the rainwater and ice concentrations derived by PR in order to achieve agreement at 19 and 85 GHz, vertically polarized brightness temperatures at monthly time scales. The database is generated only in the central 11 pixels of the PR radar scan, and the rain adjustment is performed independently for distinct sea surface temperature (SST) and total precipitable water (TPW) values. Overall, the procedure increases PR rainfall by 4.2%, but the adjustment is not uniform across all SST and TPW regimes. Rainfall differences range from a minimum of -57% for SST of 293 K and TPW of 13 mm to a maximum of +53% for SST of 293 K and TPW of 45 mm. These biases are generally reproduced by a TMI retrieval algorithm that uses the observationally generated database. The algorithm increases rainfall by 5.0% over the PR solution with a minimum of -99% for SST of 293 K and TPW of 14 mm to a maximum of +11.8% for an SST of 294 K and TPW of 50 mm. Some differences are expected because of the algorithm mechanics.