The Area-Time Integral as an Indicator for Convective Rain Volumes

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  • 1 Institute of Atmospheric Sciences, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, SD 57701
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Abstract

Digital radar data are used to investigate further a simple technique for estimating rainfall amounts on the basis of area coverage information. The basis of the technique is the existence of a strong correlation between a measure of the rain area coverage and duration called the Area-Time Integral (ATI) and the rain volume. This strong correlation is again demonstrated using echo cluster data from the North Dakota Cloud Modification Project 5 cm radars.

Integration on a scan-by-scan basis proved to be superior for determining ATI values to the hour-by-hour integration used previously. A 25 dB(z) reflectivity threshold was found suitable for the ATI calculation. The correlation coefficient on log-log plots of cluster rain volume versus ATI is approximately 0.98, indicating a power-law relationship between the variables. The exponent of that relationship is just a little higher than one, which indicates that the cluster average rainfall rate is almost independent of the storm size and duration.

A test of the relationship derived from one set of data (1980) against an independent set (1981) showed it to be consistent. Using the 1980 relationship to estimate the 1981 cluster rain volume for a given ATI, the uncertainty of the rain volume estimates was found to be −31%, +46%.

Abstract

Digital radar data are used to investigate further a simple technique for estimating rainfall amounts on the basis of area coverage information. The basis of the technique is the existence of a strong correlation between a measure of the rain area coverage and duration called the Area-Time Integral (ATI) and the rain volume. This strong correlation is again demonstrated using echo cluster data from the North Dakota Cloud Modification Project 5 cm radars.

Integration on a scan-by-scan basis proved to be superior for determining ATI values to the hour-by-hour integration used previously. A 25 dB(z) reflectivity threshold was found suitable for the ATI calculation. The correlation coefficient on log-log plots of cluster rain volume versus ATI is approximately 0.98, indicating a power-law relationship between the variables. The exponent of that relationship is just a little higher than one, which indicates that the cluster average rainfall rate is almost independent of the storm size and duration.

A test of the relationship derived from one set of data (1980) against an independent set (1981) showed it to be consistent. Using the 1980 relationship to estimate the 1981 cluster rain volume for a given ATI, the uncertainty of the rain volume estimates was found to be −31%, +46%.

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