Comparing ERA-40 based L-band brightness temperatures with Skylab observations: A calibration / validation study using the Community Microwave Emission Model

TitleComparing ERA-40 based L-band brightness temperatures with Skylab observations: A calibration / validation study using the Community Microwave Emission Model
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsDrusch, M, Holmes, T, De Rosnay, P, Balsamo, G
Secondary TitleTechnical Memorandum
Number566
Abstract

The community microwave emission model (CMEM) has been used to compute global L-band brightness temperatures at the top of the atmosphere. The input data comprise surface fields from ECMWF's 40-year Re-Analysis (ERA-40), vegetation data from the ECOCLIMAP data set, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) soil data base. Modelled brightness temperatures have been compared against (historic) observations from the S-194 passive microwave radiometer onboard the Skylab space station. Different parameterizations for surface roughness and the vegetation optical depth have been used to calibrate the model. The best results have been obtained for rather simple approaches proposed by Wigneron et al. (2001) and Kirdyashev et al. (1979). The rms errors after calibration are 10.7 K and 9.8 K for North and South America, respectively. Comparing the ERA-40 soil moisture product against the corresponding in-situ observations suggests that the uncertainty in the modelled soil moisture is the predominant contributor to these rms errors. Although the bias between model and observed brightness temperatures are reduced after the calibration, systematic differences in the dynamic range remain. For NWP analysis applications bias-correction schemes should be applied prior to data assimilation. The calibrated model has been used to compute a 10-year brightness temperature climatology based on ERA-40 data.