Measurement of Attenuation with Airborne and Ground-Based Radar in Convective Storms over Land and Its Microphysical Implications

Lin Tian Goddard Earth Science and Technology Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland

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G. M. Heymsfield NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

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R. C. Srivastava University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

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Abstract

Observations by the airborne X-band Doppler radar (known as EDOP) and the NCAR S-band polarimetric (S-Pol) radar from two field experiments are used to evaluate the surface reference technique (SRT) for measuring the path-integrated attenuation (PIA) and to study attenuation in deep convective storms. The EDOP, flying at an altitude of 20 km, uses a nadir beam and a forward-pointing beam. It is found that over land the surface scattering cross section is highly variable at nadir incidence but is relatively stable at forward incidence. It is concluded that measurement by the forward beam provides a viable technique for measuring PIA using the SRT. Vertical profiles of peak attenuation coefficient are derived in two deep convective storms by the dual-wavelength method. Using the measured Doppler velocity, the reflectivities at the two wavelengths, the differential reflectivity, and the estimated attenuation coefficients, it is shown that supercooled drops and (dry) ice particles probably coexisted above the melting level in regions of updraft and that water-coated partially melted ice particles probably contributed to high attenuation below the melting level.

Corresponding author address: Lin Tian, NASA/GSFC, Code 912, Greenbelt, MD 20771. tian@agnes.gsfc.nasa.gov

Abstract

Observations by the airborne X-band Doppler radar (known as EDOP) and the NCAR S-band polarimetric (S-Pol) radar from two field experiments are used to evaluate the surface reference technique (SRT) for measuring the path-integrated attenuation (PIA) and to study attenuation in deep convective storms. The EDOP, flying at an altitude of 20 km, uses a nadir beam and a forward-pointing beam. It is found that over land the surface scattering cross section is highly variable at nadir incidence but is relatively stable at forward incidence. It is concluded that measurement by the forward beam provides a viable technique for measuring PIA using the SRT. Vertical profiles of peak attenuation coefficient are derived in two deep convective storms by the dual-wavelength method. Using the measured Doppler velocity, the reflectivities at the two wavelengths, the differential reflectivity, and the estimated attenuation coefficients, it is shown that supercooled drops and (dry) ice particles probably coexisted above the melting level in regions of updraft and that water-coated partially melted ice particles probably contributed to high attenuation below the melting level.

Corresponding author address: Lin Tian, NASA/GSFC, Code 912, Greenbelt, MD 20771. tian@agnes.gsfc.nasa.gov

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