Critical Assessment of Microphysical Assumptions within TRMM Radiometer Rain Profile Algorithm Using Satellite, Aircraft & Surface Datasets from KWAJEX
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager precipitation profile retrieval algorithm (2a12) assumes cloud model–derived vertically distributed microphysics as part of the radiative transfer–controlled inversion process to generate rain-rate estimates. Although this algorithm has been extensively evaluated, none of the evaluation approaches has explicitly examined the underlying microphysical assumptions through a direct intercomparison of the assumed cloud-model microphysics with in situ, three-dimensional microphysical observations. The main scientific objective of this study is to identify and overcome the foremost model-generated microphysical weaknesses in the TRMM 2a12 algorithm through analysis of (a) in situ aircraft microphysical observations; (b) aircraft- and satellite-based passive microwave measurements; (c) ground-, aircraft-, and satellite-based radar measurements; (d) synthesized satellite brightness temperatures and radar reflectivities; (e) radiometer-only profile algorithm retrievals; and (f) radar-only profile or volume algorithm retrievals. Results indicate the assumed 2a12 microphysics differs most from aircraft-observed microphysics where either ground or aircraft radar–derived rain rates exhibit the greatest differences with 2a12-retrieved rain rates. An emission–scattering coordinate system highlights the 2a12 algorithm's tendency to match high-emission/high-scattering observed profiles to high-emission/low-scattering database profiles. This is due to a lack of mixed-phase-layer ice hydrometeor scatterers in the cloud model–generated profiles as compared with observed profiles. Direct comparisons between aircraft-measured and model-generated 2a12 microphysics suggest that, on average, the radiometer algorithm's microphysics database retrieves liquid and ice water contents that are approximately 1/3 the size of those observed at levels below 10 km. Also, the 2a12 rain-rate retrievals are shown to be strongly influenced by the 2a12's convective fraction specification. A proposed modification of this factor would improve 2a12 rain-rate retrievals; however, fundamental changes to the cloud radiation model's ice parameterization are necessary to overcome the algorithm's tendency to produce mixed-phase-layer ice hydrometeor deficits.
Abstract © American Meteorological Society
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Fiorino, S. T., & Smith, E. A. (2006). Critical Assessment of Microphysical Assumptions within TRMM Radiometer Rain Profile Algorithm Using Satellite, Aircraft, and Surface Datasets from KWAJEX. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 45(5), 754–786. https://doi.org/10.1175/JAM2336.1