Microwave single-scattering properties of non-spheroidal raindrops
Journal article, 2020
Falling raindrops undergo a change in morphology as they grow in size and the fall speed increases. This change can lead to significant effects in passive and active microwave remote sensing measurements, typically in the form of a polarization signal. Because previous studies generally only considered either passive or active measurements and a limited set of frequencies, there exist no general guidelines on how and when to consider such raindrop effects in scientific and meteorological remote sensing. In an attempt to provide an overview on this topic, this study considered passive and active remote sensing simultaneously and a wider set of frequencies than in previous studies. Single-scattering property (SSP) data of horizontally oriented raindrops were calculated using the T-matrix method at a large set of frequencies (34 in total). The shapes of the raindrops were calculated assuming an aerodynamic equilibrium model, resulting in drops with flattened bases. The SSP data are published in an open-access repository in order to promote the usage of realistic microphysical assumptions in the microwave remote sensing community. Furthermore, the SSPs were employed in radiative transfer simulations of passive and active microwave rain observations, in order to investigate the impact of raindrop shape upon observations and to provide general guidelines on usage of the published database. Several instances of noticeable raindrop shape-induced effects could be identified. For instance, it was found that the flattened base of equilibrium drops can lead to an enhancement in back-scattering at 94.1 GHz of 1.5 dBZ at 10mm h(-1), and passive simulations showed that shape-induced effects on measured brightness temperatures can be at least 1 K.