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For future remote sensing applications the potential of the millimeter wavelength range for precipitation observations from geostationary orbits is investigated. Therefore, a database consisting of hydrometeor profiles from various mid-latitude precipitation cases over Europe and corresponding simulated brightness temperatures at 18 microwave frequencies was built using the cloud resolving model Meso-NH and the radiative transfer model micro wave model. The information content of the database was investigated by applying simple statistical methods, as well as developing first-order retrieval approaches. The results show that, particularly for snow and graupel, the total column content can be retrieved accurately with relative errors smaller than 25% in dominantly stratiform precipitation cases over land and ocean surfaces. The performance for rain-water path is similar to the one for graupel and snow in light precipitation cases. For the cases with higher precipitation amounts, the relative errors for rain-water path are larger particularly over land. The same behavior can be seen in the surface rain rate retrieval with the difference that the relative errors are doubled in comparison to the rain-water path. Algorithms with reduced number of frequencies show that window channels at higher frequencies are important for the surface rain rate retrieval because these are sensitive to the scattering in the ice phase related to the rain below. For the frozen hydrometeor retrieval, good results can be achieved by retrieval algorithms based only on frequencies at 150 GHz and above which are suitable for geostationary applications due to their reduced demands concerning the antenna size.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:45 , Issue: 7 )
Date of Publication: July 2007