Simulation of Melting Ice–Phase Precipitation Hydrometeors for Use in Passive and Active Microwave Remote-Sensing Algorithms

Monday, 15 December 2014
Benjamin T Johnson, University of Maryland Baltimore County / JCET, Bowie, MD, United States
The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, with active and passive microwave remote-sensing instruments, was designed to be sensitive to precipitation-sized particles. The shape of these particles naturally influences the distribution of scattered microwaves. Therefore, we seek to simulate ice-phase precipitation using accurate models of the physical properties of individual snowflakes and aggregate ice crystals, similar to those observed in precipitating clouds. A number of researchers have examined the single-scattering properties of individual ice crystals and aggregates, but only a few have started to look at the properties of melting these particles.

One of the key difficulties, from a simulation perspective, is characterizing the distribution of melt-water on a melting particle. Previous studies by the author and others have shown that even for spherical particles, the relative distribution of liquid water on an ice-particle can have significant effects on the computed scattering and absorption properties in the microwave regime. This, in turn, strongly influences forward model simulations of passive microwave TBs, radar reflectivities, and path-integrated attenuation.

The present study examines the sensitivity of the single scattering properties of melting ice-crystals and aggregates to variations in the volume fraction of melt water, and the distribution of meltwater. We make some simple simulations 1-D vertical profiles having melting layers, and compute the radar reflectivities consistent with the GPM DPR at Ku- and Ka-band. We also compute the top-of-the-atmosphere brightness temperatures at GPM GMI channels for the same vertical profiles, and discuss the sensitivities to variances in the aforementioned physical properties.