The ROHP-PAZ mission and the polarimetric and non-polarimetric effects of rain and other fozen hydrometeors on GNSS Radio-Occultation signals.

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Ramon Padulles1, Estel Cardellach1, Manuel De La Torre Juarez2, Sergio Tomás1, Joseph Turk2, Chi O Ao2, Santi Oliveras1 and Antonio Rius1, (1)Institute for Space Sciences (ICE - CSIC/IEEC), Barcelona, Spain, (2)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
The Radio Occultation and Heavy Precipitation experiment aboard the PAZ Low Earth Orbiter (ROHP-PAZ) will test, for the first time, the new polarimetric radio occultation (RO) concept. This is a mission of opportunity: The Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN) approved in 2009 a proposal to include a polarimetric Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) RO payload on board of the Spanish Earth Observation satellite PAZ. The launch of the satellite is scheduled for October 2015, and it will be followed by a 6-month commissioning phase period and has an expected life of 7 years, with a goal of 10 years.

The concept is similar to that used in some polarimetric weather radars: to measure the differential phase shift between the two polarimetric components of the received signal, although in this case we will use the forward scattering geometry instead of the backscattering one. It will allow us to retrieve precipitation and other hydrometeors information, and simultaneous thermodynamic vertical profiles which will help to the understanding of the thermodynamic processes beyond heavy rain events. 

A sensitivity analysis has been performed, showing that the rain-induced effect is above PAZ detectability threshold in 90% of the events with along-ray averaged rain rate higher than 5 mm/h. Also, a ground field campaign has been conducted prior to the launch of the satellite. The measurements from the campaign have shown the first experimental evidences that precipitation and frozen hydrometeors induce a noticeable effect into the polarimetric RO observables. 

We will present here the actual status of the mission and the results from the field campaign. We will also discuss the results of the theoretical study of the thermodynamics and the effects of rain and frozen hydrometeors into standard and polarimetric RO, based on a large collocation exercise of COSMIC and TerrasSar-X with TRMM, GPM and CloudSat.