Potential of microwave observations for the evaluation of rainfall and convection in a regional climate model in the frame of HyMeX and MED-CORDEX

Abstract : This study evaluates the potential of spaceborne passive microwave observations for assessing decadal simulations of precipitation from a regional climate model through a model-to-satellite approach. A simulation from the Weather and Research Forecasting (WRF) model is evaluated against 2002-2012 observations from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU-B) and the Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) over the Mediterranean region using the radiative transfer code RTTOV (Ra-diative Transfer for Tiros Operational Vertical Sounder). It is first shown that simulated and observed brightness temperatures are consistently correlated for both water vapour and window channels. Yet, although the average simulated and observed brightness temperatures are similar, the range of brightness temperatures is larger in the observations. The difference is presumably due to the too low content of frozen particles in the simulation. To assess this hypothesis, density and altitude of simulated frozen hydrometeors are compared with observations from an airborne cloud radar. Results show that simulated frozen hydrometeors are found at lower median altitude than observed frozen hy-drometeors, with an average content at least 5 times inferior. Spatial distributions of observed and simulated precipitation match reasonably well. However , when using simulated brightness temperatures to diagnose rainfall, the simulation performs very poorly. These results highlight the need of providing more realistic frozen hydrometeors content , which will increase the interest of using passive microwave observations for the long-term evaluation of regional models. In particular, significant improvements are expected from the archiving of convective fluxes of precipitating hydrometeors in future regional model simulation programs.
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Jean-François Rysman, Ségolène Berthou, Chantal Claud, Philippe Drobinski, Jean-Pierre Chaboureau, et al.. Potential of microwave observations for the evaluation of rainfall and convection in a regional climate model in the frame of HyMeX and MED-CORDEX. Climate Dynamics, Springer Verlag, 2018, 51 (3), pp.837-855. ⟨10.1007/s00382-016-3203-7⟩. ⟨hal-01331839⟩

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