Skip to Main Content
Monitoring atmospheric water is essential for the understanding of the dynamic processes of the atmosphere and for the assessment of wave-propagation properties. Microwave radiometers, in combination with a thermal infrared channel, have the potential to fulfill these tasks. This paper is focused on the surface-based system TROWARA with microwave channels at 21.3 and 31.5 GHz. TROWARA has been used for tropospheric water measurements at Bern since 1994 together with a standard meteo station. So far, emphasis has been put on integrated water vapor (IWV) measurements, particularly for climate studies, but integrated liquid water (ILW) has been retrieved as well. We report on methodological advances with the data analysis. First, the original algorithm was replaced by a new statistical retrieval based on the simulations of TROWARA data using radiosonde profiles. Second, in a physical refinement, the cause of the variable ILW bias has been identified, and a method for its reduction to the level of 0.001 to 0.005 mm has been developed and tested. The bias is mainly a result of the variable water-vapor influence on absorption at 31 GHz. The bias correction also influences the IWV retrieval. The refined physical retrieval includes the temperature dependence of cloud absorption based on a recent dielectric model of water. The three algorithms (original, new, and refined) have been compared for two years of data. The applications of the refined algorithm are focused on physical processes, such as the development of supercooled clouds. Future advances will include precipitation measurements.