Microwave noise temperature and attenuation of clouds: Statistics of these effects at various sites in the United States, Alaska, and Hawaii


  • Stephen D. Slobin


The microwave attenuation and noise temperature effects of clouds can result in serious degradation of telecommunications link performance, especially for low-noise systems presently used in deep-space communications. Although cloud effects are generally less than rain effects, the frequent presence of clouds will cause some amount of link degradation a large portion of the time. This paper presents a general review of cloud types and their water particle densities, attenuation and noise temperature calculations, and basic link signal-to-noise ratio calculations. Tabular results of calculations for 12 different cloud models are presented for frequencies in the range 10–50 GHz. Curves of average-year attenuation and noise temperature statistics at frequencies ranging from 10 to 90 GHz, calculated from actual surface and radiosonde observations, are given for 15 climatologically distinct regions in the contiguous United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. Nonuniform sky cover is considered in these calculations.