PAMTRA 1.0: the Passive and Active Microwave radiative TRAnsfer tool for simulating radiometer and radar measurements of the cloudy atmosphere

Mech, Mario; Maahn, Maximilian; Kneifel, Stefan; Ori, Davide; Orlandi, Emiliano; Kollias, Pavlos; Schemann, Vera; Crewell, Susanne

Forward models are a key tool to generate synthetic observations given knowledge of the atmospheric state. In this way, they are an integral part of inversion algorithms that aim to retrieve geophysical variables from observations or in data assimilation. Their application for the exploitation of the full information content of remote sensing observations becomes increasingly important when these are used to evaluate the performance of cloud-resolving models (CRMs). Herein, CRM profiles or fields provide the input to the forward model whose simulation results are subsequently compared to the observations. This paper introduces the freely available comprehensive microwave forward model PAMTRA (Passive and Active Microwave TRAnsfer), demonstrates its capabilities to simulate passive and active measurements across the microwave spectral region for upward- and downward-looking geometries, and illustrates how the forward simulations can be used to evaluate CRMs and to interpret measurements to improve our understanding of cloud processes.

PAMTRA is unique as it treats passive and active radiative transfer (RT) in a consistent way with the passive forward model providing upwelling and downwelling polarized brightness temperatures and radiances for arbitrary observation angles. The active part is capable of simulating the full radar Doppler spectrum and its moments. PAMTRA is designed to be flexible with respect to instrument specifications and interfaces to many different formats of input and output, especially CRMs, spanning the range from bin-resolved microphysical output to one- and two-moment schemes, and to in situ measured hydrometeor properties. A specific highlight is the incorporation of the self-similar Rayleigh–Gans approximation (SSRGA) for both active and passive applications, which becomes especially important for the investigation of frozen hydrometeors.

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Mech, Mario / Maahn, Maximilian / Kneifel, Stefan / et al: PAMTRA 1.0: the Passive and Active Microwave radiative TRAnsfer tool for simulating radiometer and radar measurements of the cloudy atmosphere. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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