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TRMM PR Desert Observations

The Tropical Rain Mapping Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) was designed to measure the vertical profile of rain at Ku-band. TRMM PR also made measurements of the surface backscatter at incidence angles of 0 to 20 deg. TRMM PR data can be resolution enhanced using the SIR algorithm, which improves the 4.45 km native resolution to of order 2 km.

TRMM PR, NSCAT and QuikSCAT all operate at Ku-band, but at different incidence angles. At low incidence angle, below-canopy water shows up more readily than at the mid and high incidence angles for NSCAT and QuikSCAT. On the other hand vegetation is more readily discerned at higher incidence angles. This incidence angle dependence is particularly useful for studying deserts

North Africa Image(TRMM PR, H pol normalized to 11 deg incidence angle)

In this incidence angle-normalized TRMM PR image shows North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. This can be contrasted with the following enhanced resolution QuikSCAT slice image. 30 days of TRMM PR data are combined to create this image, compared with 4 days of QuikSCAT data. The pixel resolution of the TRMM PR image is 1 km whereas the QuikSCAT image pixel resolution is 2.225 km.

North Africa Image(QuikSCAT, V pol at 54 deg incidence angle)