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A physical-statistical approach to simulate cloud structures and their upward radiation over the Mediterranean is described. It aims to construct a synthetic database of microwave passive observations matching the climatological conditions of this geographical region. The synthetic database is conceived to train a Bayesian maximum a posteriori probability inversion scheme to retrieve precipitating cloud parameters from spaceborne microwave radiometric data. The initial microphysical a priori information on vertical profiles of cloud parameters is derived from a mesoscale cloud-resolving model. In order to complement information from cloud models and to match simulations to the conditions of the area of interest, a new approach is proposed. Climatological constraints over the Mediterranean are derived on a monthly basis from available radiosounding profiles, rain-gauge network measurements, and colocated METEOSAT infrared measurements. In order to introduce the actual surface background in the radiative-transfer simulations, a further constraint is represented by the monthly average and variance maps of surface emissivity derived from Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) clear-air observations. A validation of the forward model is carried out by comparing a large set of brightness temperatures measured by the SSM/I with the synthetic cloud radiative database to asses its representativeness and range of variability.