26th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology


Evaluation of satellite-based latent heating profile estimation methods

William S. Olson, JCET/University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD; and M. Grecu, S. Yang, and W. K. Tao

In recent years, methods for estimating atmospheric latent heating vertical structure from both passive and active microwave remote sensing have matured to the point where quantitative evaluation of these methods is the next logical step. Two approaches for heating algorithm evaluation are proposed: First, application of heating algorithms to synthetic data, based upon cloud-resolving model simulations, can be used to test the internal consistency of heating estimates in the absence of systematic errors in physical assumptions. Second, comparisons of satellite-retrieved vertical heating structures to independent ground-based estimates, such as rawinsonde-derived analyses of heating, provide an additional test. The two approaches are complementary, since systematic errors in heating indicated by the second approach may be confirmed by the first.

A passive microwave and combined passive/active microwave heating retrieval algorithm are evaluated using the described approaches. In general, the passive microwave algorithm heating profile estimates are subject to biases due to the limited vertical heating structure information contained in the passive microwave observations. These biases may be partly overcome by including more environment-specific a priori information into the algorithmís database of candidate solution profiles. The combined passive/active microwave algorithm utilizes the much higher-resolution vertical structure information provided by spaceborne radar data to produce less biased estimates; however, the global spatio-temporal sampling by spaceborne radar is limited. In the present study, the passive/active microwave algorithm is used to construct a more physically-consistent and environment-specific set of candidate solution profiles for the passive microwave algorithm and to help evaluate errors in the passive algorithmís heating estimates.

Although satellite estimates of latent heating are based upon instantaneous, footprint-scale data, suppression of random errors requires averaging of estimates to at least half-degree resolution. Analysis of mesoscale and larger space-time scale phenomena based upon passive and passive/active microwave heating estimates from TRMM, SSMI, and AMSR data will be presented at the conference.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (308K)

wrf recording  Recorded presentation

Session 6B, Convection, waves, and precipitation IV
Tuesday, 4 May 2004, 10:15 AM-11:45 AM, Napoleon I Room

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