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Evaluation of Water Permittivity Models From Ground-Based Observations of Cold Clouds at Frequencies Between 23 and 170 GHz

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2 Author(s)
Cadeddu, M.P. ; Argonne Nat. Lab., Argonne, IL, USA ; Turner, D.D.

Accurate retrievals of liquid water path (LWP) from passive microwave radiometers rely on the use of radiative transfer models to describe the absorption of radiation by various atmospheric components. When clouds are present, atmospheric absorption is affected by the dielectric properties of liquid water. In this paper, we use measurements from four microwave radiometers to assess four models of the complex permittivity of water. The observations are collected at five frequencies between 23.8 and 170 GHz. The purpose of the study is to compare measurements of microwave absorption with model computations in supercooled liquid clouds that have temperatures between 0 °C and -30 °C. Models of liquid water permittivity in this temperature range suffer from a lack of laboratory measurements and are generally derived from the extrapolation of available data. An additional rationale for this work is to examine to what degree the use of different dielectric models affects the retrieval of LWP in supercooled liquid clouds. Inaccuracies in modeling the water permittivity at low temperatures are likely one of the largest sources of retrieval uncertainty in supercooled clouds, uncertainty that could offset the advantages offered by the enhanced sensitivity of channels at frequencies at and above 90 GHz relative to lower frequencies.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:49 ,  Issue: 8 )