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Hurricanes, blizzards and other weather events are important to understand not only for disaster preparation, but also to track the global energy balance and to improve weather and climate forecasts. For several decades, passive radiometers and active radars on aircraft and satellites have been employed to remotely sense rain rates and the properties of liquid particles. In the past few years the relationships between frozen particles and millimeter-wave observations have become understood well enough to estimate the properties of ice in clouds. In this paper, a brief background of passive remote sensing of precipitation will be presented followed by a focused discussion of recent research at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center estimating the properties of frozen particles in clouds. The retrievals are for (1) ice that will eventually melt into rain, (2) for solid precipitation falling in northern climates, and (3) cirrus ice clouds. The electromagnetic absorption and scattering properties and differences of liquid rain versus frozen particles will be summarized for frequencies from 6 to 340+ GHz. Challenges of this work including surface emissivity variability, non-linear and under-constrained relationships, and frozen particle unknowns will be discussed. Retrieved cloud particle contents and size distributions for ice above the melting layer in hurricanes, retrieved snowfall rates for a blizzard, and cirrus ice estimates will be presented. Future directions of this work will also be described.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Gail Skofronick Jackson and James R. Wang "Passive remote sensing of cloud ice particles", Proc. SPIE 5654, Microwave Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere and Environment IV, (22 December 2004);

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