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The determination of the three-dimensional distribution of rain from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar

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This paper describes a recent development in rainfall estimation using satellite-flown and ground-based radars. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR), its algorithms and data processing are discussed. The ground validation algorithms and processing of the ground-based radar reflectivity data are explained. The estimates of attenuation-corrected radar reflectivity factor and rainfall rate are given at each resolution cell of the PR. The estimated near-surface rainfall rate and average rainfall rate at the altitudes of 2 km are calculated for each beam position. The TRMM PR profiling algorithm and processing of the PR reflectivity for rain distribution are explained. The TRMM rain products and their geophysical parameters are derived from the measurements from the satellite and ground-based radar. The derived geophysical parameters include vertical rain and hydrometeor profile, rain type, radar back-scatter cross-section, raindrop size distribution, rain gauge rain rates and 5-day and monthly average rain rates. For validation purposes the instantaneous and climatological comparison of the rain estimates from both the Precipitation Radar and ground-based radar at Melbourne, Florida, was carried out on the basis of rain type; i.e. convective/stratiform, vertical structure and rain maps. The error sources in rain profile retrieval from space-borne radar; i.e. the PR and ground-based radar with their algorithm limitations are discussed.

A second set of data, this time for an area where no simultaneous ground data are available has also been analysed; the data were chosen for the three-dimensional rain distribution over some parts of India. The issues such as discrimination of rain from surface clutter, calibration accuracy and sensitivity of precipitation radar and discrimination of rain echo from noise are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 20, 2002

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