The sea surface salinity (SSS) can be measured from space by using L-band (1.4 GHz) microwave radiometers. The L-band has been chosen for its sensitivity of brightness temperature to the change of salinity. However, SSS remote sensing is still challenging due to the low sensitivity of brightness temperature to SSS variation: for the vertical polarization, the sensitivity is about 0.4 to 0.8 K/psu with different incident angles and sea surface temperature; for horizontal polarization, the sensitivity is about 0.2 to 0.6 K/psu. It means that we have to make radiometric measurements with accuracy better than 1K even for the best sensitivity of brightness temperature to SSS. Therefore, in order to retrieve SSS, the measured brightness temperature at the top of atmosphere (TOA) needs to be corrected for many sources of error. One main geophysical source of error comes from atmosphere. Currently, the atmospheric effect at L-band is usually corrected by absorption and emission model, which estimate the radiation absorbed and emitted by atmosphere. However, the radiation scattered by precipitation is neglected in absorption and emission models, which might be significant under heavy precipitation. In this paper, a vector radiative transfer model for coupled atmosphere and ocean systems with a rough surface is developed to simulate the brightness temperature at the TOA under different precipitations. The model is based on the adding-doubling method, which includes oceanic emission and reflection, atmospheric absorption and scattering. For the ocean system with a rough surface, an empirical emission model established by Gabarro and the isotropic Cox-Munk wave model considering shadowing effect are used to simulate the emission and reflection of sea surface. For the atmospheric attenuation, it is divided into two parts: For the rain layer, a Marshall-Palmer distribution is used and the scattering properties of the hydrometeors are calculated by Mie theory (the scattering hydrometeors are assumed to be spherical). For the other atmosphere layers, which are assumed to be clear sky, Liebe's millimeter wave propagation model (MPM93) is used to calculate the absorption coefficients of oxygen, water vapor, and cloud droplets. To simulate the change of brightness temperature caused by different rain rate (0-50 mm/h), we assume a 26-layer precipitation structure corresponding to NCEP FNL data. Our radiative transfer simulations showed that the brightness temperature at TOA can be influenced significantly by the heavy precipitation, the results indicate that the atmospheric attenuation of L-band at incidence angle of 42.5° should be a positive bias, and when rain rate rise up to 50 mm/h, the brightness temperature increases are close to 0.6 K and 0.8 K for horizontally and vertically polarized brightness temperature, respectively. Thus, in the case of heavy precipitation, the current absorption and emission model is not accurate enough to correct atmospheric effect, and a radiative transfer model which considers the effect of radiation scattering should be used.