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A new look at the diurnal variation of global oceanic precipitation from the ocean TOPography Experiment (TOPEX) and the TOPEX Microwave Radiometer (TMR)

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New results on the diurnal variation of global oceanic precipitation are obtained by using one year's TOPEX (ocean TOPography EXperiment) and TMR (TOPEX Microwave Radiometer) data, derived from the dual-frequency (Ku and C band) capacity of the altimeter and the non-Sun-synchronous orbit of the satellite. The diurnal variation is characterized by a three-maximum structure which peaks at 00:00, 08:00, and 16:00 local time. The midnight-morning-afternoon maxima and dawn-noon-evening minima pattern seems to correlate with the results of most previous studies and to offer a unified picture of the diurnal variation of oceanic rainfall. A slight daytime (06:00-18:00) preference of oceanic precipitation appears to be significant in all seasons with the day/night ratio varying from 1.032 to 1.141 and the annual mean being 1.082. Examination of the geographical distribution of the timing of diurnal variation shows that the majority of the world oceans favour an afternoon maximum and an evening minimum. Moreover, the northern hemisphere is more coherent in reaching its maximum, while the southern hemisphere in reaching its minimum. In addition, the mechanisms responsible for the diurnal variations are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 10, 1998

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