Investigating the role of multi-spectral and near surface temperature and...

(2015), Investigating the role of multi-spectral and near surface temperature and humidity data to improve precipitation detection at high latitudes , Atmos. Res., 163, 2-12, doi:10.1016/j.atmosres.2014.10.019.

Accurate estimation of global precipitation is critical for the study of the earth in a changing climate. It is generally understood that instantaneous retrieval of precipitation using microwave sensors is more accurate in the tropics and mid latitudes, but the retrievals become difficult and uncertain at higher latitude and over frozen land. In the lack of reliable microwave-based precipitation estimates at high latitudes, retrievals from a single infrared band are commonly used as an alternative to fill the missing gaps. The present study shows that multi-spectral infrared, near-surface air temperature, and near-surface humidity data can add useful information to that obtained from a single infrared band and can significantly improve delineating precipitating from non-precipitating scenes, especially at higher latitudes over land. The role of surface air temperature and humidity is found to be more effective at higher latitudes, but multispectral data is effective across all latitudes. The study is performed using 4 years (2007–2010) of collocated multi-spectral data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), surface temperature and humidity data from the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) analysis, and reference precipitation data from CloudSat, which can detect even very light precipitation within 80°S–80°N.

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