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Microwave brightness temperatures for the case of downward viewing from above the earth's atmosphere over water for the 1- to 2-cm wavelength range are calculated for comparison with observations. A model of the troposphere which contains homogeneous layer clouds of varied thickness and liquid water content is used to compute estimates of the influence which clouds would have on real observations. It is assumed that only pure absorption is important for the cloud droplet-size distributions and droplet densities used. Results of the computations indicate that most water clouds will contribute a measurable amount to the microwave emission of the atmosphere and, in some cases, can be the principal source of received radiation. Comparisons of the computed cases with measurements obtained with a high flying aircraft are shown to be in reasonable agreement. These results are significant because they demonstrate that water clouds cannot be neglected in the application of passive microwave techniques to remote probing of the earth's atmosphere and because they indicate that quantitative measures of cloud liquid water contents and cloud thickness might be acquired through multi-frequency measurements.