On the Consequences of Resampling Microwave Radiometer Observations for Use in Retrieval Algorithms

Anita D. Rapp

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, and NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

Matthew Lebsock and Christian D. Kummerow

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


How to deal with the different spatial resolutions of multifrequency satellite microwave radiometer measurements is a common problem in retrievals of cloud properties and rainfall. Data convolution and deconvolution is a common approach to resampling the measurements to a single resolution. Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI) measurements are resampled to the resolution of the 19-GHz field of view for use in a multifrequency optimal estimation retrieval algorithm of cloud liquid water path, total precipitable water, and wind speed. Resampling the TMI measurements is found to have a strong influence on retrievals of cloud liquid water path and a slight influence on wind speed. Beamfilling effects in the resampled brightness temperatures are shown to be responsible for the large differences between the retrievals using the TMI native resolution and resampled brightness temperatures. Synthetic retrievals are performed to test the sensitivity of the retrieved parameters to beam-filling effects in the resampling of each of the different channels. Beam-filling effects due to the convolution of the 85-GHz channels are shown to be the largest contributor to differences in retrieved cloud liquid water path. Differences in retrieved wind speeds are found to be a combination of effects from deconvolving the 10-GHz brightness temperatures and compensation effects due to the lower liquid water path being retrieved by the high-frequency channels. The influence of beam-filling effects on daily and monthly averages of cloud liquid water path is also explored. Results show that space–time averaging of cloud liquid water path cannot fully compensate for the beam-filling effects and should be considered when using cloud liquid water path data for validation or in climate studies.