Combining Passive Microwave Rain Rate Retrieval with Visible and Infrared Cloud Classification.
The relation between cloud type and rain rate has been investigated here from different approaches. Previous studies and intercomparisons have indicated that no single passive microwave rain rate algorithm is an optimal choice for all types of precipitating systems. Motivated by the upcoming Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), an algorithm which combines visible and infrared cloud classification with passive microwave rain rate estimation was developed and analyzed in a preliminary manner using data from the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere-Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA-COARE). Overall correlation with radar rain rate measurements across five case studies showed substantial improvement in the combined algorithm approach when compared to the use of any single microwave algorithm. An automated neural network cloud classifier for use over both land and ocean was independently developed and tested on Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data. The global classifier achieved strict accuracy for 82% of the test samples, while a more localized version achieved strict accuracy for 89% of its own test set. These numbers provide hope for the eventual development of a global automated cloud classifier for use throughout the tropics and the temperate zones. The localized classifier was used in conjunction with gridded 15-minute averaged radar rain rates at 8km resolution produced from the current operational network of National Weather Service (NWS) radars, to investigate the relation between cloud type and rain rate over three regions of the continental United States and adjacent waters. The results indicate a substantially lower amount of available moisture in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains than in the Midwest or in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
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- Physics: Atmospheric Science; Engineering: Aerospace