With the operational deployment of the Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR), hurricane reconnaissance and research aircraft provide near real-time observations of the 10
ocean-surface wind-speed both within and around tropical cyclones. Hurricane specialists use these data to assist in determining wind radii and maximum sustained winds—critical parameters for determining and issuing watches and warnings. These observations are also used for post-storm analysis, model validation, and ground truth for aircraft- and satellite-based wind sensors. We present observations on the current operational wind-speed and rain-rate SFMR retrieval procedures in the tropical cyclone environment and propose suggestions to improve them based on observed wind-speed biases. Using these new models in the SFMR retrieval process, we correct an approximate 10% low bias in the wind-speed retrievals from 15 to 45 −1
with respect to GPS dropwindsondes. In doing so, we eliminate the rain-contaminated wind-speed retrievals below 45 mm −1
at tropical storm- and hurricane-force speeds present in the current operational model. We also update the SFMR radiative transfer model to include recent updates to smooth-ocean emissivity and atmospheric opacity models. All corrections were designed such that no changes to the current SFMR calibration procedures are required.
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