13.3 The Effect of Hydrometeors on MSU/AMSU Temperature Observations over the Tropical Ocean

Friday, 13 July 2018: 9:00 AM
Regency E/F (Hyatt Regency Vancouver)
Hamid A. Pahlavan, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; and Q. Fu and J. M. Wallace

The temperature of Earth’s atmosphere has been monitored continuously since late 1978 by the Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) and the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) flown on polar-orbiting weather satellites. It is well known that these measurements are affected by the scattering and emission from hydrometeors, including cloud water, precipitation, and ice particles. In this study, the hydrometeor effects on MSU/AMSU temperature observations are investigated by comparing satellite-observed temperature of the middle troposphere (TMT) with synthetic TMT constructed using temperature fields from the ECMWF Interim Reanalysis (ERA-I). Precipitation data have been used to estimate how much of the difference between these two TMT fields is due to hydrometeor contamination effects. It is shown that there exists a robust linear proportionality between TMT deficit (i.e., the measured TMT minus the synthetic TMT) and precipitation at individual grid points in monthly mean fields. The linear correlation is even stronger in the annual mean and seasonally varying climatology and also in the spatial pattern of ENSO-related anomalies. The linear regression coefficient obtained in all of these analyses is virtually identical: -0.042 K/(mm day-1). The channel that senses lower tropospheric temperature (TLT) is more sensitive to precipitation than the TMT channel: the regression coefficient is -0.059 K/(mm day-1). It is shown that correcting the TMT or TLT monthly anomalies by removing the hydrometeor contamination does not significantly influence estimates of tropical mean temperature trends but it could affect the pattern of temperature trend over the tropical oceans.
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