Towards the Consideration of Surface and Environment variables for a Microwave Precipitation Algorithm Over Land
Microwave satellite remote sensing of precipitation over land is a challenging problem due to the highly variable land surface emissivity, which, if not properly accounted for, can be much greater than the precipitation signal itself, especially in light rain/snow conditions. Additionally, surfaces such as arid land, deserts and snow cover have brightness temperatures characteristics similar to precipitation Ongoing work by NASA’s GPM microwave radiometer team is constructing databases for the GPROF algorithm through a variety of means, however, there is much uncertainty as to what is the optimal information needed for the wide array of sensors in the GPM constellation, including examination of regional conditions. The at-launch database focuses on stratification by emissivity class, surface temperature and total precipitable water (TPW). We’ll perform sensitivity studies to determine the potential role of environmental factors such as land surface temperature, surface elevation, and relative humidity and storm morphology such as storm vertical structure, height, and ice thickness to improve precipitation estimation over land, including rain and snow. In other words, what information outside of the satellite radiances can help describe the background and subsequent departures from it that are active precipitating regions? It is likely that this information will be a function of the various precipitation regimes. Statistical methods such as Principal Component Analysis (PCA) will be utilized in this task.
Databases from a variety of sources are being constructed. They include existing satellite microwave measurements of precipitating and non-precipitating conditions, ground radar precipitation rate estimates, surface emissivity climatology from satellites, surface temperature and TPW from NWP reanalysis.