Dual-frequency rain-flagging has long been a standard part of altimetric data analysis, both for quality control of the data and for the study of rain itself, because altimeters can provide a finer spatial sampling of rain than can passive microwave instruments. However, there have been many varied implementations, using different records of the surface backscatter and different thresholds. This paper compares four different measures available for the recently-launched Jason-2. The evaluation compares these measures against clearly desired properties, finding that in most cases the adjusted backscatter and that from the ice retracker perform much better than that recommended in the users' handbook. The adjusted backscatter measure also provides a much better link to observations from Jason-1, opening up a much longer period for consistent rain investigations, and enabling greatly improved analysis of the short-scale variability of precipitation. Initial analysis shows that although the spatial and temporal gradients of backscatter increase at very low winds, the spatial gradients in rain attenuation are concentrated where rainfall is greatest, whilst the temporal changes have a simple broad latitudinal pattern
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