Comparison of Satellite-Based Passive Microwave Tropical Cyclone Intensity Estimates Using AMSU-A, SSMI/S, and ATMS

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Sunday, 4 January 2015
David C. Moreno, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH; and R. S. Wacker

Satellite based Tropical Cyclone (TC) intensity and location estimates are critical for TC warning centers and global Numerical Weather Prediction Model (NWP) bogusing processes due to the lack of in-situ observations of mean sea-level pressure and TC winds. Passive microwave instruments on polar-orbiting weather satellites are useful for estimating the intensity and location of TCs because upwelling microwave radiation can generally penetrate clouds. Currently, operational TC prediction centers rely primarily on intensity estimates derived from Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU-A) brightness temperatures. This study compares the performance of a variety of TC intensity estimation techniques using both the imaging and sounding channels from AMSU-A, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Special Sensor Microwave Imager and Sounder (SSMI/S), and the Suomi-National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) for a sample of 28 North Atlantic storms from the 2011 through 2013 TC seasons.