Passive microwave measurements from satellites have been used to identify the signature of hail in intense thunderstorms. The scattering signal of hailstones is typically observed as a strong depression of upwelling brightness temperatures from the cloud to the satellite. Although the relation between scattering signal and hail diameter is often assumed linear, in this work a logistic model is used which seems to well approximate the complexity of the radiation extinction process by varying the hail cross-section. A novel probability-based method for hail detection originally conceived for AMSU-B/MHS and now extended to ATMS, GMI, and SSMIS, is presented. The measurements of AMSU-B/MHS were analyzed during selected hailstorms over Europe, South America and the US to quantify the extinction of radiation due to the hailstones and large ice aggregates. To this aim, a probabilistic growth model has been developed. The validation analysis based on 12-year surface hail observations over the US (NOAA official reports) collocated with AMSU-B overpasses have demonstrated the high performance of the hail detection method in distinguishing between moderate and severe hailstorms, fitting the seasonality of hail patterns. The flexibility of the method allowed its experimental application to other microwave radiometers equipped with MHS-like frequency channels revealing a high level of portability.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited