The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) is a joint U.S.-Japan satellite mission to monitor tropical and subtropical precipitation and to estimate its associated latent heating. TRMM was successfully launched on November 27, at 4:27 PM (EST) from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan.
The TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) is a nine-channel passive microwave radiometer, which builds on the ... heritage of the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) instrument flown aboard the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) platforms. Microwave radiation is emitted by the Earth's surface and by water droplets within clouds. However, when layers of large ice particles are present in upper cloud regions - a condition highly correlated with heavy rainfall - microwave radiation tends to scatter at frequencies above 19 GHz. The TMI detects radiation at five frequencies chosen to discriminate among these processes, thus revealing the likelihood of rainfall. The key to accurate retrieval of rainfall rates by this method is the deduction of cloud precipitation consistent with the radiation measurement at each frequency. The TMI frequencies are 10.65, 19.35, 37 and 85.5 GHz (dual polarization), and 21 GHz (vertical polarization only).
The TMI Gridded Oceanic Rainfall Product, also known as TMI Emission, consists of 5 degree by 5 degree monthly oceanic rainfall maps using TMI Level 1 data as input. Statistics of the monthly rainfall, including number of samples, standard deviation, goodness-of-fit (of the brightness temperature histogram to the lognormal rainfall distribution function) and rainfall probability are also included in the output for each grid box. Spatial coverage is between 40 degrees North and 40 degrees South owing to the 35 degree inclination of the TRMM satellite.
TMI brightness temperature histograms at 1 degree intervals are generated based on the 19, 21 and 19-21 GHz combination channels obtained from the Level 1B (calibrated brightness temperature) TMI product. Monthly rainfall indices over the ocean are derived by statistically matching monthly histograms of brightness temperatures with model calculated rainfall Probability Distribution Functions (PDF) using the 19-21 GHz combination data. Retrieved monthly rainfall data must pass a quality test based on the quality of the PDF fit.
The data are stored in the Hierarchical Data Format (HDF), which includes both core and product specific metadata applicable to the TMI measurements. A file contains 12 arrays of rainfall data and supporting information each of dimension 72 x 16, with a file size of about 40 KB (uncompressed). The HDF-EOS "grid" structure is used to accommodate the actual geophysical data arrays. There is 1 file of TMI 3A11 data produced per month.