Ralph R. Ferraro Chief, Satellite Climate Studies Branch, noaa/nesdis

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Ralph R. Ferraro

Chief, Satellite Climate Studies Branch, NOAA/NESDIS

Visiting Scientist, The Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites

College Park, MD



  • M.S. (Meteorology), The University of Maryland, 1982

  • B.S. (Meteorology), Rutgers University, 1980


  • 2005 - Present: Chief, Satellite Climate Studies Branch, NOAA/NESDIS

  • 2003 – Present: Visiting Scientist, Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS), University of Maryland

  • 1991-Present: Physical Scientist, NOAA/NESDIS/Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR)

  • 1988-1991: Leader, Microwave Remote Sensing Group, S M Systems and Research Corporation, Landover, MD

  • Primary research interests are the retrieval of geophysical parameters from satellite-based passive microwave measurements and their applications at NOAA. This has included work with the Nimbus-7 SMMR, the DMSP SSM/I and SSMIS, the NOAA AMSU and MHS, the TRMM TMI , the Aqua AMSR, the GCOM AMSR-2, the S-NPP ATMS and the GPM GMI sensors. Several of the algorithms he has been developed are used operationally by FNMOC, NESDIS and NASA. Ralph is a member of the AMSR-E science team, the NASA Precipitation Measurement Missions Science team and NOAA’s Climate Data Record (CDR) science team.

  • Member of the American Meteorological Society, American Geophysical Union and National Weather Association.

  • AMS Committee on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography (1996 – 2003):

    • Committee chair 2002-03

    • Conference chair 2000

    • Short Course organizer 1997

  • National Weather Association (1996 – present):

    • Councilor , 2006-08

    • Remote Sensing Committed Chair, 2008 – 2011

    • Remote Sensing Committee member, 1997 - 2001

  • Co-Chair, NOAA’s Steering Group on Precipitation Measurement from Space (2007 – present)

  • NOAA representative on WMO sponsored projects:

    • Global Precipitation Climatology Project

    • CGMS/International Precipitation Working Group (including co-chair 2007-08)


  • Awarded the NOAA Bronze Medals in 1995, 2004 and 2008 (2)

  • Awarded the Department of Commerce Silver Medal in 1999

  • Awarded NASA Team Achievement Award in 2003

  • Awarded the NOAA Technology Transfer Award in 2014

Publications and Presentations:

  • Author or co-author over 75 peer reviewed publications

  • Author or co-author on over 50 Conference Presentations/Preprint articles

  • Contributed to articles in National Geographic and the N.Y. Times

  • Over 30 invited seminars and workshop presentations

Journal and Book Publications (Lead Author - 24):
Ferraro, R.R., N.C. Grody, and J.A. Kogut, 1986: Classification of geophysical parameters using passive microwave satellite measurements. IEEE Trans. Geo. Rem. Sens., 24, 1008-1013.
Ferraro, R.R., 1992: NOAA Workshop on Climate Scale Operational Precipitation and Water Vapor Products. NOAA Technical Report NESDIS 62, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC, 61 pp.
Ferraro, R.R., N.C. Grody, D.. Forsyth, R. Carey, A. Basist, J. Janowiak, F. Weng, G. Marks, and R. Yanamandra, 1994: Microwave measurements produce global climatic, hydrologic data. Eos, Trans. Amer. Geophy. Union, 75, 337-343.
Ferraro,R.R, N.C. Grody, and G.F. Marks, 1994: Effects of surface conditions on rain identification using the SSM/I, Rem. Sens. Rev., 11, 195-209.
Ferraro, R.R. and G.F. Marks, 1995: The development of SSM/I rain rate retrieval algorithms using ground based radar measurements. J. Atmos. Oceanic Tech., 12, 755-770.
Ferraro, R.R., F. Weng, N.C. Grody, and A. Basist, 1996: An eight year (1987-94) climatology of rainfall, clouds, water vapor, snowcover, and sea-ice derived from SSM/I measurements. Bull. of Amer. Meteor. Soc., 77, 894-905.
Ferraro, R.R., 1997: SSM/I derived global rainfall estimates for climatological applications. J. Geophys. Res., 102, 16,715-16,735.
Ferraro, R.R., E.A. Smith, W. Berg, and G. Huffman, 1998: A review of screening techniques for passive microwave precipitation retrieval algorithms. J. Atmos. Sci., 55, 1583-1600.
Ferraro, R.R., S.J. Kusselson and M. Colton, 1999: An introduction to passive microwave remote sensing and its applications to meteorological analysis and forecasting. National Weather Digest, 22, 11-23.
Ferraro, R., G. Vicente, M. Ba, A. Gruber, R. Scofield, Q. Li, and R. Weldon, 1999: Satellite techniques yield insight into devastating rainfall from Hurricane Mitch. EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 80 (43), 505-514.
Ferraro, R.R., M. Colton, G. Deblonde, G. Jedlovec and T. Lee, 2000: 10th AMS Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography. Bull Amer. Met. Soc., 81, 2213-2221.
Ferraro, R.R, F. Weng, N.C. Grody and L. Zhao, 2000: Precipitation characteristics over land from the NOAA-15 AMSU Sensor. Geophysical Research Letters, 27, 2669-2672.
Ferraro, R.R. and Q. Li, 2002: Detailed analysis of the error associated with the rainfall retrieved by the NOAA/NESDIS/SSMI algorithm: II. Rainfall over land. J. Geophys. Res., 107, 4680 – 4686.
Ferraro, R., F. Weng, N. Grody, I. Guch, C. Dean, C. Kongoli, H. Meng, P. Pellegrino and L. Zhao, 2002: NOAA satellite-derived hydrological products prove their worth. EOS, Trans. of Amer. Geophys. Union, 83, 429-437.
Ferraro, R., P. Pellegrino, S. Kusselson, M. Turk and S. Kidder, 2002: Validation of SSM/I and AMSU derived Tropical Rainfall Potential (TRaP) during the 2001 Atlantic Hurricane Season. NOAA Technical Report 105, 47 pp.
Ferraro, R.R., F. Weng, N. Grody, L. Zhao, H. Meng, C. Kongoli, P. Pellegrino, S. Qiu and C. Dean, 2005: NOAA operational hydrological products derived from the AMSU. IEEE Trans. Geo. Rem. Sens., 43, 1036 – 1049.
Ferraro, R., P. Pellegrino. M. Turk, W. Chen, S. Qiu, R. Kuligowski, S. Kusselson, A. Irving, S. Kidder and J. Knaff, 2005: The Tropical Rainfall Potential. Part 2: Validation, 2005: Weather and Forecasting, 20, 465 – 475.
Ferraro, R., 2007: Past, present and future of microwave operational rainfall algorithms. Advances in Global Change Research – Volume 28: Measuring Precipitation from Space, EURAINSAT and the Future (Levizzani, Bauer and Turk, editors). Springer, The Netherlands, pp 189 – 198.
Ferraro, R., S. Kusselson, S. Kidder, L. Zhao and H. Meng, 2010: Application of AMSU-Based Products to Support NOAA’s Mission Goals. National Weather Digest. 34, 1-14.
Ferraro, R., H. Meng and Z. Luo, 2011: NOAA Workshop on Climate Data Records from Satellite Passive Microwave Sounders - AMSU/MHS/SSMT2: March 2-3, 2011 at Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), College Park, MD USA", EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, 92, doi:10.1029/2011EO320005.
Ferraro, R., and members of the PMM Science Team Land Surface Working Group, 2012: An evaluation of microwave land surface emissivities over the continental United States to benefit GPM-era Precipitation Algorithms. IEEE Trans. Geoscience. Rem. Sens., DOI: 10.1109/TGRS.2012.2199121
Ferraro, R. and co-authors, 2012: Rainfall. Encyclopedia of Remote Sensing (E. Njokou, Editor). Springer, The Netherlands, doi: 10.1007/SpringerReference_327218.
Ferraro, R. and T. Smith, 2014: Global Precipitation Monitoring. Chapter in “Integrated Satellite Applications for Monitoring Climate and Environmental Change”, J. Qu and A. Powell, editors., pp. 81-94.
Ferraro, R., J. Beauchamp, D. Cecil and G. Heymsfield, 2014: A propotype hail detection algorithm and climatology developed with the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2014.08.010

Journal Publications (Co-Author - 63):
Alishouse, J.C., R.R. Ferraro, and J.V. Fiore, 1990: Inference of oceanic rainfall properties from the Nimbus-7 SMMR. J. Appl. Meteor., 29, 551-560.
Alishouse,J.C., S. Snyder, J. Vongsathorn, and R.R. Ferraro, 1990: Determination of oceanic total precipitable water from the SSM/I. IEEE Trans. Geo. Rem. Sens., 28, 811-816.
Basist, A., D. Garrett, R. Ferraro, N. Grody and K. Mitchell, 1996: A comparison between snow cover products derived from visible and microwave satellite measurements. J. Appl. Meteor., 35, 163-177.
Berg, W., W. Olson, R.R. Ferraro, S.J. Goodman and F.J. LaFontaine, 1998: An assessment of the first and second generation navy operational precipitation retrieval algorithms. . J. Atmos. Sci., 55, 1558-1575.
Boori, M. and R. Ferraro, 2012: Northern Hemisphere snow variations with season and elevation using GIS and AMSR-E data. Earth Science & Climatic Change. Vol. 3(3): 01 – 06, Doi:10.4172/2157-7617.S12-001
Boori, M. and R. Ferraro, 2013: Microwave polarization and gradient ratio (MPGR) for global land surface phenology. Geology and Geosciences, 2 (2): 114-123, Doi: 10.4172/jgg.10000114.
Boori, M. and R. Ferraro, 2014: Improving Satellite-Generated Land Surface Phenology. J. Geol. Geosci., 2, 1-10.
Brown, C.W. and R.R. Ferraro. 2008. Remote sensing of the marine ecosystem. National Weather Association Newsletter, No. 08-4, 2 – 6.
Boukabara, A., K. Garrett, W. Chen, F. Iturbide-Sanchez, C. Grassotti, C. Kongoli, R. Chen, Q. Liu, B. Yan, F. Weng, R. Ferraro, T. Kleespies and H. Meng, MiRS, 2011: An all-weather 1DVAR satellite data assimilation & retrieval system. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Rem. Sens., 49, 3249-3272.
Carr, N., P. Kirstetter, W. Peterson, M. Schwaller, N. Wang and R. Ferraro, 2015: The influence of surface and precipitation characteristics on TRMM TMI rainfall retrieval uncertainty. In Press, J. Hydrometeorology.
Chen, R., R. Wood, Z. Li, R. Ferraro, and F-L. Chang, 2008: Studying the variation of cloud droplet effective radius using ship and space-borne remote sensing. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, D00A02, doi:10.1029/2007JD009596.
Chen, R., F. Chang, Z. Li, R. Ferraro and F. Weng, 2007: – Impact of the vertical variation of cloud droplet size on the estimation of cloud liquid water path and rain detection. J. Atmos. Sciences. 64, 3843 – 3853.
Chen, R., Z. Li, R. Kuligowski, R. Ferraro and F. Weng, 2011: A study or warm-cloud rain detection using A-Train satellite data. Geophys. Res. Letters, 38, doi:10.1029/2010GL046217
Crosby, D., R. Ferraro and H. Wu, 1995: Estimating the probability of rain in an SSM/I FOV using logistic regression. J. Appl. Meteor., 34, 2476-2480.
Divakarla, M. and co-authors (including R. Ferraro), 2013: The CrIMSS EDR algorithm: characterization, optimization and validation. J. Geophys. Res., 119, 4953-4977.
Ellingson, R.G. and R. Ferraro, 1983: An examination of a technique for estimating the longwave radiation budget from satellite radiance observations. J. Clim. Appl. Meteor., 22, 1416 – 1423.
Folmer, M., M.DeMaria, R. Ferraro, and co-authors , 2015: Use of satellite tools to monitor and predict super storm Sandy 2012 - current and emerging products. Atmos. Res., 166, 165-181, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2015.06.005.
Gopolan, K., N.Y. Wang, C. Liu and R. Ferraro, 2010: Version 7 of the TRMM 2A12 Land Precipitation Algorithm. J. Appl. Clim. Meteor. 27, 1343-1354.
Grody, N., J. Zhao, R. Ferraro, F. Weng and R. Boers, 2001: Determination of precipitable water and cloud liquid water over oceans from the NOAA 15 advanced microwave sounding unit, 2001. J. Geophys. Res., 106, 2943 – 2953.
Greene, J.S., M.L. Morrissey, and R.R. Ferraro, 1997: Verification of a scattering-based algorithm for estimating rainfall over the open ocean. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 56, 33-44.
Huffman, G.J., R.F. Adler, P. Arkin, A. Chang, R.R. Ferraro, A.Gruber, J.Janowiak, A. McNab, B. Rudolf and U. Schneider, 1996: The Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) combined precipitation data set, Bull. of Amer. Meteor. Soc., 78, 5 - 20.
Joseph, R., T. Smith, M. Sapiano and R. Ferraro, 2008: A new high-resolution satellite derived precipitation data set for climate studies. J. Hydromet. 10.1175/2009JHM1096.1
Kidd, C., V. Levzanni, J. Turk and R. Ferraro, 2009: Satellite precipitation measurements for water resource monitoring, Journal of the American Water Resources Association.45, 567-579.
Kidd, C., R. Ferraro and V. Levizzani, 2010: The fourth International Precipitation Working Group (IPWG) Workshop. Bull. of the Amer. Meteor. Soc. 91, 1095 – 1099.
Kidder, S., J. Knaff, S. Kusselson, R. Ferraro, R. Kuligowski and M. Turk, 2005: The Tropical Rainfall Potential. Part 1: Description and Examples. Weather and Forecasting,20, 456 – 464.
Kongoli, C., P. Pellegrino, R. Ferraro, N. Grody and H. Meng, 2003: A new snowfall detection algorithm over land using measurements from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU). Geophys. Res. Let., 30, 1756-1759.
Kongoli, C., N.C. Grody, and R.R. Ferraro, 2004: Interpretation of AMSU microwave measurements for the retrievals of snow water equivalent and snow depth. J. Geohys. Res., 109, D24111, doi:10.1029/2004JD004836.
Kongoli, C., C. Dean, S. Helfrich and R. Ferraro, 2007: Evaluating the potential of a blended passive microwave-interactive multi-sensor product for improved mapping of snow cover and estimations of snow water equivalent. Hydrological Processes, 21, 1597 – 1607.
Kongoli, C., P. Pellegrino and R. Ferraro, 2007: The utilization of the AMSU high frequency measurements for improved coastal rain retrievals, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L17809, doi:10.1029/2007GL029940.
Kongoli, C., S. Boukabara, B. Yan, F. Weng and R. Ferraro, 2010: A new sea ice concentration algorithm based on microwave surface emissivities. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Rem. Sens., 49, 175-189.
Kongoli., C., P. Romanov and R. Ferraro, 2011: “Snow Cover Monitoring from Remote –Sensing Satellites – Possibilities for Drought Assessment. Chapter in Remote Sensing of Drought – Innovative Monitoring Approaches. Wardlow, Anderson and Verdin, Editors. CRC Press.
Kongoli, C., H. Meng, J. Dong, R. Ferraro, N-Y. Wang, 2015: A snowfall detection algorithm over land utilizing high-frequency passive microwave measurements-Application to ATMS. J. Geophys. Res., 120(5), 1918-1932.
Kummerow, C, Y. Hong, W. Olson, S. Yang, R. Adler, J. McCollum, R. Ferraro, G. Petty and T. Wilheit, 2001: The evolution of the Goddard Profiling Algorithm (GPROF) for rainfall estimation from passive microwave sensors. J. Appl. Meteor., 40, 1801-1820.
Kummerow, C., D. Randel, M. Kulie, N.-Y. Wang, R. Ferraro, S. J. Munchak, and V. Petkovic, 2015: The Evolution of the Goddard Profiling Algorithm to a Fully Parametric Scheme, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol, In Press.

Li, Q., R. Ferraro and N.C. Grody, 1998: Detailed analysis of the error associated with the rainfall retrieved by the NOAA/NESDIS SSM/I Rainfall Algorithm: Part I. Tropical oceanic rainfall. J. Geophys. Res., 103, 11,419-11,427.

Li, Q, R. Ferraro and N.C Grody, 2000: Adequacy of using a 1/3-degree Special Sensor Microwave Imager dataset to estimate climate-scale rainfall. J. Appl. Meteor., 39, 680-685.
Meng, H., A. Sexton, M. Maddox, A. Sood, C. Brown, R. Ferraro, and R. Murtugudde, 2010: Modeling the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Using SWAT - Rappahannock, the Pilot River Basin. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 26, 795-805.
Meyers, P., R. Ferraro and N-Y. Wang, 2015: Updated Screening Procedures for GPROF2010 over Land: Utilization for AMSR-E, J. Atm. Oceanic Tech., 32, 1015-1028.
McCollum, J., W. Krajewski, R. Ferraro and M. Ba, 2002: Evaluation of biases of Satellite Rainfall Estimation algorithms over the continental U.S. J. Appl. Meteor.,41, 1065 –1080.
McCollum, J.R. and R.R. Ferraro, 2003: The next generation of NOAA/NESDIS SSM/I, TMI and AMSR-E microwave land rainfall algorithms, J. Geophys. Res. 108, 8382-8404.
McCollum, J.R. and R.R. Ferraro, 2005: Microwave Rainfall Estimation along coasts. J. Atmos. Ocean. Technol., 22, 497-512.
Moradi, I., H. Meng, R. Ferraro, S. Bilanow, 2013: Correcting geolocation errors for microwave instruments aboard NOAA satellites. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remove Sensing, 51, 3625 – 3637.
Moradi, I., S. Buehler, V. John, A. Reale and R. Ferraro, 2013: Evaluating instrumental inhomogeneities in global radiosonde upper tropospheric humidity data using microwave satellite data. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remove Sensing, 51, 3615 – 3624.
Moradi, I., B. Soden, R. Ferraro, and P. Arkin, 2013: Assessing the quality of humidity measurements from global operational radiosonde sensors, J. Geophys. Res., 118, 8040–8053.
Moradi, I. and R. Ferraro, 2014: Intercalibration of microwave satellite data: an ongoing challenge. GSICS Quarterly, 8, 1-2, doi: 10.7289/V55H7D64
Moradi, I. and R. Ferraro, 2014: Inter-calibration of Observations from SAPHIR and ATMS instruments. GSICS Quarterly, 8,11-12, doi: 10.7289/V55H7D64.
Moradi, I., R. Ferraro, B. Soden, P. Eriksson and P. Arkin, 2015:: Retrieving Layer Averaged Tropospheric Humidity from Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) Water Vapor Channels, IEEE Trans. Geosci. Rem. Sens. 54, 10.1109/TGRS.2015.2445832.
Ohring, G., P. Romanov, R. Ferraro, A. Heidinger, I. Laszlo, C. Zou and M. Foster, 2014: Satellite Observations of North American Climate. Climate Change in North America, G. Ohring, Ed., Springer, New York, New York.
Qiu, S., P. Pellegrino and R. Ferraro, 2005: An evaluation of an improved AMSU rain rate algorithm and its application to winter season rainfall in the western United States. Weather and Forecasting, 20, 761 – 774.
Sudradjat, A., R. Ferraro and M. Fiorino, 2005: A comparison of total precipitable water from different data sets. J. Climate., 18, 1790-1807.
Sudradjat, A., N-Y. Wang, K. Gopalan and R. Ferraro, 2011: Prototyping a Generic, Unified Land Surface Classification and Screening Methodology for GPM-era Microwave Land Precipitation Retrieval Algorithms, J. Appl. Meteor. Clim., 50, 1200-1211.
Vila, D., R. Ferraro, R. Joyce, 2007: Evaluation and Improvement of AMSU Precipitation Retrievals. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D20119, doi:10.1029/2007JD008617.
Vila, D. R. Ferraro and H. Semunegus, 2010: Improved global rainfall retrieval using the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I). J. Appl. Meteor. Clim., 49, 1032 – 1043.

Vila, D., R. Ferraro, C. Hernandez and H. Semunegus, 2013: The performance of hydrological monthly products using SSM/I – SSMI/S sensors. J. Hydromet., 14, 266 – 274.

Wang, N., C. Liu, R. Ferraro, D. Wolff, E. Zipser and C. Kummerow, 2009: The TRMM 2A12 Land Precipitation Product – Status and Future Plans, J. of Meteor. Soc. Of Japan., 87, 237 – 253.
Wang, Y., J. Alishouse, R. Ferraro and R. Song. 1998: Estimation of midlatitude rainfall parameters from satellite microwave radiometers using the area-time integral concept. Radio Science, 33, 317-333.
Weng, F., R. R. Ferraro, and N.C. Grody, 1994: Global precipitation estimations using DMSP F10 and F11 special sensor microwave imager. J. Geophys. Res., 99, 14,493-14,502.
Weng, F., N.C. Grody, R.R. Ferraro, A.Basist and D. Forsyth, 1997: Cloud liquid water climatology from the special sensor microwave imager. J. Climate, 10, 1086-1096.
Weng, F, L. Zhao, G. Poe, R. Ferraro, X. Li and N. Grody, 2003; AMSU cloud and precipitation algorithms. Radio Science, 38(4), 8068-8079.
Wiheit, T., C. Kummerow and R. Ferraro, 2003: Rainfall algorithms for AMSR-E. IEEE Trans. Geosci. And Rem.Sens., 41, 204-214.
Xie, P, J. Janowiak, P. Arkin, R. Adler, A. Gruber, R. Ferraro, G. Huffman and S. Curtis, 2003: GPCP Pentad Precipitation Analyses: An Experimental Data Set Based on Gauge Observations and Satellite Estimates. J. Climate, 16, 2197 – 2214.
Yang, W, H. Meng, R. Ferraro, I. Moradi, and C. Divaraj, 2013: Cross scan asymmetry of AMSU-A window channels: characterization, correction and verification. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remove Sensing, 51, 1514 – 1530.
Yang, W., H. Meng, and R. Ferraro, 2014: Intercalibration of AMSU-A window channels. GSICS Quarterly, 8, 14-15, doi: 10.7289/V55H7D64
You, Y., Wang, N.-Y., & Ferraro, R. (2015). A Prototype Precipitation Retrieval Algorithm over Land Using Passive Microwave Observations Stratified by Surface Condition and Precipitation Vertical Structure. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 120(11), 5295-5315.
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