22 Apr 2024
 | 22 Apr 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Determination of low-level temperature profiles from microwave radiometer observations during rain

Andreas Foth, Moritz Lochmann, Pablo Saavedra Garfias, and Heike Kalesse-Los

Abstract. Usually, microwave radiometer observations have to be discarded during rain. The instrument gets wet which hampers accurate measurements since the retrieval algorithms to derive atmospheric quantities are not trained for rain events. The reason for the latter is, that the rain drops dominate the microwave signal compared to the weaker signal from atmospheric gases. To account for this, radiative transfer simulations need to include the electromagnetic properties of rain, which usually requires more complicated and expensive simulations. In this work, the performance of newly developed microwave radiometer retrievals that are not based on rain simulations is evaluated to assess how they work during rain events. It is shown that it is possible to retrieve low-level temperature profiles during rain by omitting certain frequencies and zenith observations. Retrievals with various combinations of elevation angles and frequencies are evaluated. It is presented that, retrievals based on scanning mode observations with angles below 30° without zenith observation and only the lesser transparent upper four HATPRO microwave radiometer frequencies of the V-band (54.94, 56.66, 57.3, 58 GHz) provides the best results. An analysis of the calculated degrees of freedom of the signal shows that the retrieval of temperature profiles up to 3 km for no rain, 2 km for light to moderate rain and 1.5 km for heavy rain is driven by the HATPRO observation and not by climatology. Finally, the performance of the temperature profile retrieval is explained using a case study in Lindenberg, Germany, and evaluated with temperature profiles from European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) model for different rainfall intensities. The results show that the higher the rainfall rate, the larger the deviation of the microwave radiometer temperature profile retrieval result from the reference model output.

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Andreas Foth, Moritz Lochmann, Pablo Saavedra Garfias, and Heike Kalesse-Los

Status: open (until 18 Jun 2024)

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Andreas Foth, Moritz Lochmann, Pablo Saavedra Garfias, and Heike Kalesse-Los

Model code and software

pyMakeRetrieval python code Andreas Foth

Andreas Foth, Moritz Lochmann, Pablo Saavedra Garfias, and Heike Kalesse-Los


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Short summary
Microwave radiometers are usually not able to provide atmospheric quantities such as temperature profiles during rain. Here, we present a method based on a selection of specific frequencies and elevation angles from the microwave radiometer observation. A comparison with a numerical weather prediction model shows that the presented method allows to resolve temperature profiles during rain with rain rates up to 2 mm h−1 which was not possible before with state-of-the-art retrievals.