Skip to Main Content
The effects of cloud structures on microwave radiances at frequencies from 89-190 GHz are investigated by simulations using the Goddard cumulus ensemble model data as input for a radiative transfer model. It was found that the brightness temperatures at these frequencies have different sensitivities to clouds with a tilted structure. The different sensitivities to altitude and amount of hydrometeors allow the estimation of the canting angle and tilt direction of tilted clouds using brightness temperatures at the water vapor channels at 183.3 ± 1 and 183.3 ± 7 GHz. The estimated canting angle and tilt direction are in agreement with the model situation. This method provides a potential to estimate tilted convective structures from microwave radiometric observations at 183.3 ± 1 and 183.3 ± 7 GHz. It is applied to a tilted storm observed from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's ER-2 aircraft flying at about 20 km on August 26, 1998 during the third Convection and Moisture Experiment using the observed downlooking brightness temperatures at the water vapor channels of a Millimeter-wave Imaging Radiometer. The estimated results are in good agreement with the realistic storm situation obtained from the simultaneous observations of the ER-2 Doppler radar. This method also provides information about the vertical displacement of cloud structure and thereby to estimate the accurate location of surface rainfall. This is important when validating precipitation retrieval based on observations of the ice scattering above surface rainfall against surface rain observations using the microwave frequencies sensitive to high altitudes.