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NASDARainfall algorithms for AMSR-E

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3 Author(s)
Wilheit, T. ; Dept. of Atmos. Sci., Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX, USA ; Kummerow, C.D. ; Ferraro, R.

Three related algorithms have been developed to retrieve rainfall from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-Earth Observing System observations. First, land and ocean backgrounds must be treated separately. The highly reflective ocean background is ideal for observing atmospheric constituents including rainfall. The high and variable emissivity of the land background limits the usefulness of the signal from the liquid hydrometeors under most conditions. For an algorithm with global applicability, it is more reasonable to use the signal generated by scattering of microwaves from frozen hydrometeors. Unfortunately, this scattering is related to rainfall only indirectly. This dichotomy is reinforced by the differing availability of ground truth in the two environments. Thus, two distinct approaches must be used in generating the algorithms for the two cases. The oceanic algorithm is based on physical models, and the land algorithm is generated empirically. Functionally, the two algorithms are merged into a common structure for retrievals on a pixel-by-pixel (Level-2) basis, but the distinct philosophies remain. The third element is the monthly total product (Level-3) which could be generated by simply summing the Level-2 products. However, subtle biases, unimportant on a Level-2 basis, could introduce serious errors into the totals. Therefore, we have chosen to generate a separate product over the oceans consisting of monthly averaged rain rates over 5° ×5° boxes. The Level-3 ocean algorithm assumes that the rainfall intensity is distributed log-normally and also absorbs small instrumental calibration errors and some modeling errors.

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Feb. 2003

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