Comparison of TRMM Precipitation Radar and Airborne Radar Data

Durden, S., E. Im, Z. Haddad, and L. Li (2003), Comparison of TRMM Precipitation Radar and Airborne Radar Data, J. Appl. Meteor., 42, 769-774.

The first spaceborne weather radar is the precipitation radar (PR) on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), which was launched in 1997. As part of the TRMM calibration and validation effort, an airborne rainmapping radar (ARMAR) was used to make underflights of TRMM during the B portion of the Texas and Florida Underflights (TEFLUN-B) and the third Convection and Moisture Experiment (CAMEX-3) in 1998 and the Kwajalein Experiment (KWAJEX) in 1999. The TRMM PR and ARMAR both operate at 14 GHz, and both instruments use a downward-looking, cross-track scanning geometry, which allows direct comparison of data. Nearly simultaneous PR and ARMAR data were acquired in seven separate cases. These data are compared to examine the effects of larger resolution volume and lower sensitivity in the PR data relative to ARMAR. The PR and ARMAR data show similar structures, although the PR data tend to have lower maximum reflectivities and path attenuations because of nonuniform beam-filling effects. Nonuniform beam filling can also cause a bias in the observed path attenuation relative to that corresponding to the beam-averaged rain rate. The PR raintype classification is usually consistent with the ARMAR data.

Research Program: 
Atmospheric Dynamics and Precipitation Program (ADP)