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Applied Aviation Sciences

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Passive microwave brightness temperatures (T(B)'s) at 92 and 183 GHz from an aircraft thunderstorm overflight are compared with values calculated from radar-derived hydrometeor profiles and a modified proximity sounding. Two methods for modeling particles in the ice canopy are contrasted. The first is a ''traditional'' approach employing Marshall-Palmer ice spheres. The second, or ''alternative,'' method partitions 20% of the ice water content into a Marshall-Palmer component for graupel and hail, and 80% into a modified gamma spherical particle size distribution function representing ice crystals.

Results from the alternative approach are superior to those from the traditional method in the anvil and mature convective core. In the decaying convective region, the traditional approach yields better agreement with observed magnitudes. Neither method, however, matches the geometry of the observed TB depression associated with the decaying convective core. This is likely due to the presence of graupel, which is not detected as a special signature in radar reflectivity, but does diminish T(B)'s through scattering. Brightness temperatures at the relatively high microwave frequencies considered are shown to be very sensitive to the ice-particle size distribution.

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Meteorology



American Meteorological Society

Grant or Award Name

NASA/MSFC grant NGT-50524

Additional Information

Dr. Muller was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.

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© Copyright 1993 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act September 2010 Page 2 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at ( or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or