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Surface and atmospheric contributions to passive microwave brightness...

Jackson, G. S., and B. T. Johnson (2011), Surface and atmospheric contributions to passive microwave brightness temperatures for falling snow events, J. Geophys. Res., 116, D02213, doi:10.1029/2010JD014438.

Physically based passive microwave precipitation retrieval algorithms require a set of relationships between satellite‐observed brightness temperatures (TBs) and the physical state of the underlying atmosphere and surface. These relationships are nonlinear, such that inversions are ill‐posed especially over variable land surfaces. In order to elucidate these relationships, this work presents a theoretical analysis using TB weighting functions to quantify the percentage influence of the TB resulting from absorption, emission, and/or reflection from the surface, as well as from frozen hydrometeors in clouds, from atmospheric water vapor, and from other contributors. The percentage analysis was also compared to Jacobians. The results are presented for frequencies from 10 to 874 GHz, for individual snow profiles, and for averages over three cloud‐resolving model simulations of falling snow. The bulk structure (e.g., ice water path and cloud depth) of the underlying cloud scene was found to affect the resultant TB and percentages, producing different values for blizzard, lake effect, and synoptic snow events. The slant path at a 53° viewing angle increases the hydrometeor contributions relative to nadir viewing channels. Jacobians provide the magnitude and direction of change in the TB values due to a change in the underlying scene; however, the percentage analysis provides detailed information on how that change affected contributions to the TB from the surface, hydrometeors, and water vapor. The TB percentage information presented in this paper provides information about the relative contributions to the TB and supplies key pieces of information required to develop and improve precipitation retrievals over land surfaces.

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Research Program: 
Applied Sciences Program (ASP)
Atmospheric Dynamics and Precipitation Program (ADP)
Radiation Science Program (RSP)
Global Precipitation Measurement