We present a new methodology for retrieving liquid water path over land using satellite microwave observations. As input, the technique exploits the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for earth observing plan (EOS) (AMSR-E) polarization-difference signals at 37 and 89 GHz. Regression analysis performed on model simulations indicates that over variable atmospheric and surface conditions the polarization-difference signals can be simply parameterized in terms of the surface emissivity polarization difference (∆ε), surface temperature, liquid water path (LWP), and precipitable water vapor (PWV). The resulting polarization-difference parameterization (PDP) enables fast and direct (noniterative) retrievals of LWP with minimal requirements for ancillary data. Single- and dual-channel retrieval methods are described and demonstrated. Data gridding is used to reduce the effects of instrumental noise. The methodology is demonstrated using AMSR-E observations over the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site during a six day period in November and December, 2003. Single- and dual-channel retrieval results mostly agree with groundbased microwave retrievals of LWP to within approximately 0.04 mm
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