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Polarimetric Radar Measurements of Tropical Rain at a 5-cm Wavelength

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  • a Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • | b NOAA/Environmental Research Laboratories, National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | c Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Abstract

A 5-cm wavelength (C band) polarimetric radar was deployed during the MCTEX (Maritime Continent Thunderstorm Experiment) field program. This paper investigates the use of the C-band data for quantitative rainfall measurements with particular emphasis on specific differential phase (KDP) and traditional reflectivity-based rain-rate estimates in moderate to high rain rates (10–200 mm h−1). Large values of backscatter differential phase shift are occasionally seen in these data, thus resonance scattering effects are important. A consensus algorithm for KDP estimation in these cases is described. The rain-rate estimates are compared with the data from a d-scale rain gauge network. The KDP estimates are shown to produce the highest quality data, although variations in drop size distribution characteristics have a significant effect on the rain estimates. When corrections are applied for beam blockage and attenuation, good agreement can also be obtained with Z–R-based estimates. The attenuation corrections were made using a polarimetric variable, total differential phase, which provides an estimate of the total water content along the path. The polarimetric estimates of total accumulation also show excellent agreement.

Corresponding author address: Dr. P. T. May, Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre, GPO Box 1289K, Melbourne, Victoria 3001, Australia.

p.may@bom.gov.au

Abstract

A 5-cm wavelength (C band) polarimetric radar was deployed during the MCTEX (Maritime Continent Thunderstorm Experiment) field program. This paper investigates the use of the C-band data for quantitative rainfall measurements with particular emphasis on specific differential phase (KDP) and traditional reflectivity-based rain-rate estimates in moderate to high rain rates (10–200 mm h−1). Large values of backscatter differential phase shift are occasionally seen in these data, thus resonance scattering effects are important. A consensus algorithm for KDP estimation in these cases is described. The rain-rate estimates are compared with the data from a d-scale rain gauge network. The KDP estimates are shown to produce the highest quality data, although variations in drop size distribution characteristics have a significant effect on the rain estimates. When corrections are applied for beam blockage and attenuation, good agreement can also be obtained with Z–R-based estimates. The attenuation corrections were made using a polarimetric variable, total differential phase, which provides an estimate of the total water content along the path. The polarimetric estimates of total accumulation also show excellent agreement.

Corresponding author address: Dr. P. T. May, Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre, GPO Box 1289K, Melbourne, Victoria 3001, Australia.

p.may@bom.gov.au

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