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An analysis of SeaWinds-based rain retrieval in severe weather events

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2 Author(s)
Allen, J.R. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT, USA ; Long, D.G.

The Ku-band SeaWinds scatterometer estimates near-surface ocean wind vectors by relating measured backscatter to a geophysical model function for the near-surface vector wind. The conventional wind retrieval algorithm does not explicitly account for SeaWinds' sensitivity to rain, resulting in rain-caused wind retrieval error. A new retrieval method, termed "simultaneous wind/rain retrieval," that estimates both wind and rain from rain-contaminated measurements has been previously proposed and validated with Tropical Rain Measuring Mission data. Here, the accuracy of rains retrieved by the new method is validated through comparison with the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) in coastal storm events. The rains detected by both sensors are comparable, though SeaWinds-estimated rains exhibit greater variability. The performance of simultaneous wind/rain retrieval in flagging excessively rain-contaminated winds is discussed and compared to existing methods. A new rain-only retrieval algorithm for use in rain-backscatter-dominated areas is proposed and tested. A simple noise model for SeaWinds rain estimates is developed, and Monte Carlo simulation is employed to verify the model. The model shows that SeaWinds rain estimates have a standard deviation of 2.5 mm/h, which is higher than the NEXRAD measurements. Thresholding SeaWinds rain estimates at 2 mm/h yields a better rain flag than current rain flag algorithms.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:43 ,  Issue: 12 )