Availability of High-Quality TRMM Ground Validation Data from Kwajalein, RMI: A Practical Application of the Relative Calibration Adjustment Technique
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Since the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite launch in November 1997, the TRMM Satellite Validation Office (TSVO) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has been performing quality control and estimating rainfall from the KPOL S-band radar at Kwajalein, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Over this period, KPOL has incurred many episodes of calibration and antenna pointing angle uncertainty. To address these issues, the TSVO has applied the Relative Calibration Adjustment
... ation Adjustment (RCA) technique to eight years of KPOL radar data to produce Ground Validation (GV) Version 7 products. This application has significantly improved stability in KPOL reflectivity distributions needed for Probability Matching Method (PMM) rain rate estimation and for comparisons to the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR). In years with significant calibration and angle corrections, the statistical improvement in PMM distributions is dramatic. The intent of this paper is to show improved stability in corrected KPOL reflectivity distributions by using the PR as a stable reference. Intermonth fluctuations in mean reflectivity differences between the PR and corrected KPOL are on the order of ±1-2 dB, and inter-year mean reflectivity differences fluctuate by approximately ±1 dB. This represents a marked improvement in stability with confidence comparable to the established calibration and uncertainty boundaries of the PR. The practical application of the RCA method has salvaged eight years of radar data that would have otherwise been unusable, and has made possible a high-quality database of tropical ocean-based reflectivity measurements and precipitation estimates for the research community.