Rain Effects on Salinity

Project Title

Using the CONAE SAC-D Microwave Radiometer to Improve Aquarius Salinity Retrievals

Focus of this work

The objective of this project is to use the 23.8 and 36.5 GHz microwave radiometer (MWR) that is being provided by the Space Agency of Argentina (CONAE) to reduce the errors in the Aquarius salinity retrievals. The MWR flies on the SAC-D spacecraft along with Aquarius.  The MWR observations will be used for rain detection and correction.  Our primary concern is the effect of moderate to heavy rain on the Aquarius 1.4 GHz observations used to derive sea surface salinity.  The overall error in salinity retrievals due to atmospheric liquid water has been estimated to be about 0.07 to 0.08 psu in the global average.  Locally, in areas of heavy rain, errors on the order of 1-2 psu can occur if no rain flagging or correction procedures are implemented. This work encompasses in-orbit calibration of MWR, adapting retrieval algorithms for liquid water and rain rate at the specific MWR frequencies and viewing angles, and research into the problem of estimating the total atmospheric liquid water within an Aquarius footprint given an MWR observations.


This work is pertinent to the following missions: Aquarius (SAC-D)

This work is pertinent to the following measurements: Sea Surface Salinity, Rain Rate