Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 7, 15853-15872, 2007
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Discriminating raining from non-raining clouds at mid-latitudes using Meteosat Second Generation daytime data
B. Thies, T. Nauss, and J. Bendix
Laboratory of Climatology and Remote Sensing, University of Marburg, Germany

Abstract. A new method for the delineation of precipitation during daytime using multispectral satellite data is proposed. The approach is not only applicable to the detection of mainly convective precipitation by means of the commonly used relation between infrared cloud top temperature and rainfall probability but enables also the detection of stratiform precipitation (e.g. in connection with mid-latitude frontal systems). The presented scheme is based on the conceptual model that precipitating clouds are characterized by a combination of particles large enough to fall, an adequate vertical extension (both represented by the cloud water path (cwp)), and the existence of ice particles in the upper part of the cloud. The technique considers the VIS0.6 and the NIR1.6 channel to gain information about the cloud water path. Additionally, the channel differences ΔT8.7-10.8 and ΔT10.8-12.1 are considered to supply information about the cloud phase. Rain area delineation is realized by using a minimum threshold of the rainfall confidence. To obtain a statistical transfer function between the rainfall confidence and the channel differences, the value combination of the four variables is compared to ground based radar data. The retrieval is validated against independent radar data not used for deriving the transfer function and shows an encouraging performance as well as clear improvements compared to existing optical retrieval techniques using only IR thresholds for cloud top temperature.

Citation: Thies, B., Nauss, T., and Bendix, J.: Discriminating raining from non-raining clouds at mid-latitudes using Meteosat Second Generation daytime data, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 7, 15853-15872, doi:10.5194/acpd-7-15853-2007, 2007.
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