Assessing the Impact of Light/Shallow Precipitation Retrievals from Satellite-Based Observations Using Surface Radar and Micro Rain Radar Observations
The accurate representation of precipitation across the Earth's surface is crucial to furthering our knowledge and understanding of the Earth System and its component processes. Precipitation poses a number of challenges, particularly due to the variability of precipitation over time and space and whether it falls as snow or rain. While conventional measures of precipitation are reasonably good at the location of their measurement, their distribution across the Earth's surface is uneven with
... e is uneven with some regions having no surface measurements. Spaceborne sensors have the capability of providing regular observations across the Earth's surface that can provide estimates of precipitation. However, the estimation of precipitation from satellite observations is not necessarily straightforward. Visible and/or infrared techniques rely upon imprecise cloud-top to surface precipitation relationships, while the sensitivity of passive microwave techniques to different precipitation types is not consistent. Active microwave (radar) observations provide the most direct satellite measurements of precipitation but cannot provide estimates close to the surface and are generally not sufficiently sensitive to resolve light precipitation. This is particularly problematic at mid to high latitudes, where light and/or shallow precipitation dominates. This paper compares measurements made by ground-based weather radars, Micro Rain Radars and the spaceborne Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar to study both light precipitation intensity and shallow precipitation occurrence and to assess their impact on satellites retrievals of precipitation at the mid to high latitudes.