Battaglia_etal2020RG000686.pdf (39.46 MB)
Download file

Spaceborne Cloud and Precipitation Radars: Status, Challenges, and Ways Forward

Download (39.46 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 06.11.2020, 14:38 by Alessandro Battaglia, Pavlos Kollias, Ranvir Dhillon, Richard Roy, Simone Tanelli, Katia Lamer, Mircea Grecu, Matthew Lebsock, Daniel Watters, Kamil Mroz, Gerald Heymsfield, Lihua Li, Kinji Furukawa
Spaceborne radars offer a unique three-dimensional view of the atmospheric components of the Earth's hydrological cycle. Existing and planned spaceborne radar missions provide cloud and precipitation information over the oceans and land difficult to access in remote areas. A careful look into their measurement capabilities indicates considerable gaps that hinder our ability to detect and probe key cloud and precipitation processes. The international community is currently debating how the next generation of spaceborne radars shall enhance current capabilities and address remaining gaps. Part of the discussion is focused on how to best take advantage of recent advancements in radar and space platform technologies while addressing outstanding limitations. First, the observing capabilities and measurement highlights of existing and planned spaceborne radar missions including TRMM, CloudSat, GPM, RainCube, and EarthCARE are reviewed. Then, the limitations of current spaceborne observing systems, with respect to observations of low-level clouds, midlatitude and high-latitude precipitation, and convective motions, are thoroughly analyzed. Finally, the review proposes potential solutions and future research avenues to be explored. Promising paths forward include collecting observations across a gamut of frequency bands tailored to specific scientific objectives, collecting observations using mixtures of pulse lengths to overcome trade-offs in sensitivity and resolution, and flying constellations of miniaturized radars to capture rapidly evolving weather phenomena. This work aims to increase the awareness about existing limitations and gaps in spaceborne radar measurements and to increase the level of engagement of the international community in the discussions for the next generation of spaceborne radar systems.

Funding

European Space Agency. Grant Numbers: 4000120689/17/NL/IA, 4000125959/18/NL/NA

NASA. Grant Numbers: 80NM0018D004, 80NSSC19K0923

History

Citation

Reviews of Geophysics, Volume 58, Issue 3, September 2020, e2019RG000686

Author affiliation

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Reviews of Geophysics

Volume

58

Issue

3

Publisher

Wiley for American Geophysical Union (AGU)

issn

8755-1209

eissn

1944-9208

Copyright date

2020

Available date

10/06/2020

Spatial coverage

United States

Language

English