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.
The TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), the first of its kind in space, is an electronically scanning radar, operating at 13.8 GHz that measures the 3-D rainfall distribution ... over both land and ocean, and defines the layer depth of the precipitation.
The 1B21 calculates the received power at the PR receiver input point from the Level-0 count value which is linearly proportional to the logarithm of the PR receiver output power. To convert the count value to the input power, extensive internal calibrations are applied, which are mainly based upon the system model, temperature dependence of model parameters and many temperature sensors attached at various locations of the PR. Periodically the input-output characteristics are measured using an internal calibration loop for the IF unit and later receiver stages. To make an absolute calibration, an Active Radar Calibrator (ARC) is placed at Kansai Branch of CRL and overall system gain of the PR is being measured every 2 months. Using the transfer function based on the above internal and external calibrations, the PR received power is obtained. Note that the value assumes that the signal follows the Rayleigh fading, so if the fading characteristics of a scatter is different, a small bias error may occur (within 1 or 2 dB).
The data are stored in the Hierarchical Data Format (HDF), which includes both core and product specific metadata applicable to the PR measurements. A file contains a single orbit of data with a file size of about 139 MB (uncompressed). The HDF-EOS "swath" structure is used to accommodate the actual geophysical data arrays. There are 16 files each of PR 1B21 and 1C21 data produced per day.
Spatial coverage is between 38 degrees North and 38 degrees South, owing to the 35 degree inclination of the TRMM satellite. This orbit provides extensive coverage in the tropics and allows each location to be covered at a different local time each day, enabling the analysis of the diurnal cycle of precipitation. There are, in general, 9150 scans along the orbit, with each scan consisting of 49 rays. The scan width is about 220 km.