Retrieval of vertical rain structure and hence the estimation of surface rain rate is of central importance to various missions involving remote sensing of the earth’s atmosphere. Typically, remote sensing involves scanning the earth’s atmosphere at visible, infra red and microwave frequencies. While the visible and infra red frequencies can scan the atmosphere with higher spatial resolution, they are not suited for scanning under cloudy conditions as clouds are opaque under these frequencies. However, the longer wavelength microwave radiation can partially penetrate through the clouds without much attenuation thereby making it more suitable for meteorological purposes. The retrieval algorithms used for passive microwave remote sensing involve modeling of the radiation in the earth’s atmosphere where in the clouds and precipitating rain (also known as hydrometeors) emit / absorb / scatter. Additionally, it has been observed that the rain droplets tend to polarize the microwave signal emitted by the earth’s surface. In view of this, the first step in the development of a rainfall retrieval algorithm for any satellite mission is to simulate the radiances (also known as brightness temperatures) that would have been measured by a typical radiometer for different sensor frequencies and resolutions. Towards this, a polarized microwave radiation transfer code has been developed in house for a plane parallel raining atmosphere (henceforth called as forward model) that depicts the physics as seen by a satellite. Physics based retrieval algorithm often involves repeated execution of the forward model for various raining scenario. However, due to the complexity involved in the radiation modeling of the raining atmosphere which is participating in nature, the forward model suffers from the drawback that it requires enormous computational effort. In the present work, a much quicker alternative is proposed wherein the forward model can be replaced with an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) based Fast Forward Model (AFFM). This AFFM can be used in conjunction with an appropriate inverse technique to retrieve the rain structure. Spectral microwave brightness temperatures at frequencies corresponding to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are first simulated using an in-house polarized radiate on transfer code for sixteen past cyclones in the North Indian Ocean region in the period (2000–2005), using the hydrometeor profiles retrieved from the Goddard Profiling Algorithm (GPROF) of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM)’s Microwave Imager (TMI). This data is split into two sets: while the first set of data is used for training the network, the remainder of the data is used for testing the ANN. The results obtained are very encouraging and shows that neural network is capable of predicting the brightness temperature accurately with the correlation coefficient of over 99%. Furthermore, the execution of the forward model on an Intel Core 2 Quad 3.0 GHz processor based, 8 GB DDR3 RAM workstation took 3 days, while the AFFM delivers the results in 10 seconds.

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