Skip to Main Content
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar uses surface reference method to estimate the attenuation encountered in the observation of radar reflectivity. The cumulative attenuation estimated from the surface reference method can be distributed along the radar range using a power law relation between the specific attenuation (k) and reflectivity factor (Z). A physical interpretation of the variability in the k-Z relation can be provided with the normalized drop size distributions. This paper describes an algorithm to estimate the drop size distribution (DSD) parameters from the measured attenuation and reflectivity values obtained from TRMM precipitation radar observations. Coincident data collected with ground polarimetric radar during the TRMM field campaigns is used to cross-validate the estimates of drop size distribution parameters obtained from the TRMM precipitation radar. The results of cross validation show fairly good agreement with the drop size distribution parameters retrieved from TRMM precipitation radar and the ground-radar-based estimates. The algorithm is subsequently used to generate monthly global maps of DSD. The global distribution of DSDs is critically important for development of retrieval algorithms used by the Global Precipitation Mission Radiometers.