Microwave instruments can help us understand how we improve understanding of continental storms. The PATH/GeoSTAR solution would resolve the diurnal cycle, measure convection/rain in real-time, and measure atmospheric stability concurrently. (Image Credit B. Tian/JPL.)
Microwave sensors are able to give unique view into their microphysics. They make scattering signal from hurricanes/convection easily measurable; measure location, intensity, vertical structure of deep convection; detect intensification/weakening in near real time; measure all three phases of H2O: vapor, liquid, ice - including rain/snow; use for operational analysis & in research to improve microphysics of models.
Weather and climate applications for microwave instruments include being able to observe the hydrology cycle, climate variability, and storm and diurnal total rainfall. They could also assist weather forecasting by making synoptic rapid-update soundings.
Most satellite sensors do not penetrate clouds nor observe the internal microphysics of clouds & storms and only provide observations only brief snapshots twice a day, when the satellite passes overhead. These observations will help researchers develop climatologies by combining microwave observations over time.