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Intercomparison of microwave radiative transfer models for precipitating clouds

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7 Author(s)
Smith, E.A. ; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA ; Bauer, P. ; Marzano, F.S. ; Kummerow, C.D.
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An intercomparison of microwave multiple scattering radiative transfer codes used in generating databases for satellite rainfall retrieval algorithms has been carried out to ensure that differences obtained from retrieval techniques do not originate from the underlying radiative transfer code employed for the forward modeling. A set of profiles containing liquid water and ice contents of cloud and rain water as well as snow, graupel and pristine ice were distributed to the participants together with a black box routine providing Mie single scattering, atmospheric background absorption and surface emissivity. Simulations were to be carried out for nadir and off-nadir (53.1°) observation angles at frequencies between 10 and 85 GHz. Among the radiative transfer models were two-stream, multiple stream and Monte Carlo models. The results showed that there were two major sources of differences between the codes. 1) If surface reflection/emission was considered isotropic, simulated brightness temperatures were significantly higher than for specular reflection and this effect was most pronounced at nadir observation and over ocean-type surfaces. 2) Flux-type models including delta-scaling could partially compensate for the errors introduced by the two-stream approximation. Largest discrepancies occurred at high frequencies where atmospheric scattering is most pronounced and at nadir observation. If the same surface boundary conditions, the same multiple-stream resolution and the same scaling procedures are used, the models were very close to each other with discrepancies below 1 K

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 3 )

Date of Publication:

Mar 2002

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