Regression method, look-up table technique, neural network, and physical inversion method are discussed in this study. Results from model calculations and measurements show that all retrieval algorithms achieve the similar accuracy for total precipitable water and sea surface wind. However, in contrast to the regression method physical inversion method, look-up table technique, and neural network yield a better accuracy for the cloud liquid water path. Instantaneous comparisons between ship-based radiosonding and the estimate from Special Sensor Microwave/Imager give rms errors of 2.9 Wm-2 and 2.7 ms-1 for the total column water vapor and sea surface wind, respectively. Due to the limit of data source comparison for cloud liquid water path is only performed for different data sets. Comparison for precipitation is only carried out with different algorithms.© (1998) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.