Recent work concerning the use of microwave radiometers in space to provide views of the water content of clouds is reported. Recently, theoretical algorithms were refined and the sampling by microwave radiometers for polar orbiting satellite became more commensurate in resolution and coverage with the scale of the meteorological phenomena. Parameters available from the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) include total integrated water vapor (kg/sq m), integrated cloud liquid water (kg/sq m), rain rate (mm/hr), and an index for the presence and concentration of large ice particles; this so called scattering index can also be converted to a rain rate, although conversion is still rather uncertain. The hydrologic aspects of climatically important cloud systems on the Earth such as subtropical stratus decks, tropical convection, and midlatitude and polar cyclone can thus be monitored with the SSM/I parameters. The diagnostic as well as prognostic potential of these satellite derived water content properties of cloud systems are also discussed.
METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY
ESA, Environment Observation and Climate Modelling Through International Space Projects. Volume 1: Remote Sensing for Global Change, Climate Change and Atmosphere and Ocean Forecasting; p 163-168