Remote Sensing of Tropical Cyclone Thermal Structure from Satellite Microwave Sounding Instruments: Impacts of Background Profiles on Retrievals


  • A variational retrieval system often requires background atmospheric profiles and surface parameters in its minimization process. This study investigates the impacts of specific background profiles on retrievals of tropical cyclone (TC) thermal structure. In our Microwave Retrieval Testbed (MRT), the K-means clustering algorithm is utilized to generate a set of mean temperature and water vapor profiles according to stratiform and convective precipitation in hurricane conditions. The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) observations are then used to select the profiles according to cloud type. It is shown that the cloud-based background profiles result in better hurricane thermal structures retrieved from ATMS observations. Compared to the Global Positioning System (GPS) dropsonde observations, the temperature and specific humidity errors in the TC inner region are less than 3 K and 2.5 g kg–1, respectively, which are significantly smaller than the retrievals without using the cloud-based profiles. Further experiments show that all the ATMS observations could retrieve well both temperature and humidity structures, especially within the inner core region. Thus, both temperature and humidity profiles derived from microwave sounding instruments in hurricane conditions can be reliably used for evaluation of the storm intensity with a high fidelity.
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