The Global Satellite Precipitation Constellation: Current Status and Future Requirements

Kidd, Chris ; Huffman, George ; Maggioni, Viviana ; Chambon, Philippe ; Oki, Riko

Année de publication
<p align=justify>To address the need to map precipitation on a global scale, a collection of satellites carrying passive microwave (PMW) radiometers has grown over the last 20 years to form a constellation of about 10-12 sensors at any one time. Over the same period, a broad range of science and user communities has become increasingly dependent on the precipitation products provided by these sensors. The constellation presently consists of both conical and cross-track-scanning precipitation-capable multichannel instruments, many of which are beyond their operational and design lifetime but continue to operate through the cooperation of the responsible agencies. The Group on Earth Observations and the Coordinating Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS), among other groups, have raised the issue of how a robust, future precipitation constellation should be constructed. The key issues of current and future requirements for the mapping of global precipitation from satellite sensors can be summarized as providing 1) sufficiently fine spatial resolutions to capture precipitation-scale systems and reduce the beam-filling effects of the observations; 2) a wide channel diversity for each sensor to cover the range of precipitation types, characteristics, and intensities observed across the globe; 3) an observation interval that provides temporal sampling commensurate with the variability of precipitation; and 4) precipitation radars and radiometers in low-inclination orbit to provide a consistent calibration source, as demonstrated by the first two spaceborne radar-radiometer combinations on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission Core Observatory. These issues are critical in determining the direction of future constellation requirements while preserving the continuity of the existing constellation necessary for long-term climate-scale studies.</p>
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