|Satellite-based passive microwave (PMW) remote sensing is an essential technique to clarify long-term and large-scale distribution patterns of cloud water content (CWC). However, most CWC estimation methods are not implemented over land because of high heterogeneity of land radiation, and the detailed characteristics of microwave (MW) radiative transfer between land and atmosphere including clouds have not been elucidated. This study aims to elucidate these characteristics and reveal the accuracy of land emissivity representation necessary for adequate CWC estimation over land using satellite-based PMW under various CWC conditions. First, important parameters related to MW radiative transfer between land and atmosphere at CWC-relevant frequencies in the presence of clouds are determined theoretically. Next, the relationship between errors in these parameters and the brightness temperatures used for CWC estimation is clarified through considerations based on radiative transfer equations. Then, ground-based PMW observations and numerical simulation are used to reveal the actual values of these important parameters and the size of errors. Finally, the results show that for any cloud liquid water path (LWP) value greater than 1.6 kg/m 2 at 89 GHz and 5 kg/m 2 at 36 GHz, we can reasonably neglect the heterogeneity of emissivity and radiation from the land surface for CWC estimation. However, when LWP values are below the threshold, the error in the representation of land emissivity should be kept below 0.015 for both 89- and 36-GHz data, and volumetric soil moisture content should have an error lower than 5%-6% for both frequencies.