A summary of reflectivity profiles from the first year of TRMM radar data

D. B. Shin, G. R. North, K. P. Bowman

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28 Citations (Scopus)


A preliminary climatology of reflectivity profiles derived from the first spaceborne precipitation radar (PR), which is on board the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, is described using the data from January 1998 to February 1999. This study focuses on the behavior of the melting-layer (bright band) altitude in stratiform precipitation. This analysis will be useful for improving passive microwave radiometric estimations of rain rates because it provides information about otherwise unknown parameters in the estimation models (the depth of the rain column). The monthly means of the melting-layer altitude estimated over 10≃ x 10≃ latitude-longitude grid boxes show that high melting layers (>4.5 km) tend to appear during extreme events such as El Niño and the Asian summer monsoon, and lower melting layers are usually observed in the winter hemisphere, which suggests a close relationship between surface temperature and the melting-layer altitude. Detailed climatologies of the profiles are provided for eight selected regions. For each region the seasonal variation of the meting-layer altitude and the mean and variation of the reflectivity profiles are discussed. The diurnal cycle of the melting-layer altitude and second-moment products, such as the spatial correlation along the satellite track, illustrate the irregular characteristics of the melting-layer altitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4072-4086
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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