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Keywords:

  • microwave radiometer;
  • thermodynamic profiling;
  • weather forecasting

[1] A microwave radiometer is described that provides continuous thermodynamic (temperature, water vapor, and moisture) soundings during clear and cloudy conditions. The radiometric profiler observes radiation intensity at 12 microwave frequencies, along with zenith infrared and surface meteorological measurements. Historical radiosonde and neural network or regression methods are used for profile retrieval. We compare radiometric, radiosonde, and forecast soundings and evaluate the accuracy of radiometric temperature and water vapor soundings on the basis of statistical comparison with radiosonde soundings. We find that radiometric soundings are equivalent in accuracy to radiosonde soundings when used in numerical weather forecasting. A case study is described that demonstrates improved fog forecasting on the basis of variational assimilation of radiometric soundings. The accuracy of radiometric cloud liquid soundings is evaluated by comparison with cloud liquid sensors carried by radiosondes. Accurate high-resolution three-dimensional water vapor and wind analysis is described on the basis of assimilation of simulated thermodynamic and wind soundings along with GPS slant delays. Examples of mobile thermodynamic and wind profilers are shown. Thermodynamic profiling, particularly when combined with wind profiling and slant GPS, provides continuous atmospheric soundings for improved weather and dispersion forecasting.