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On the Use of Dual-Polarized C-Band Radar for Operational Rainfall Retrieval in Mountainous Areas

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  • 1 Department of Civil Protection, Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Rome, Italy
  • | 2 Department of Electrical and Information Engineering, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy
  • | 3 Department of Civil Protection, Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Rome, Italy
  • | 4 Department of Information Engineering, Electronics and Telecommunications, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, and CETEMPS Centre of Excellence, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy
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Abstract

Radar-rainfall estimation is a complex process that involves several error sources, some of which are related to the environmental context. The presence of orographic obstacles heavily affects the quality of the retrieved radar products. In relatively flat terrain conditions, dual-polarization capability has been proven either to increase the data quality or to improve the rainfall estimate. The potential benefit of using polarimetric techniques for precipitation retrieval is evaluated here using data coming from two radar systems operating in Italy under complex-orography conditions. The analysis outlines encouraging results that might open new scenarios for operational applications. Indeed, the applied rainfall algorithm employing specific differential phase mostly outperformed the examined reflectivity-based retrieval techniques except for the analyzed winter storm. In the latter case, the likely contamination by frozen or melting snow tended to degrade the performance of the examined Kdp-based rainfall algorithms.

Corresponding author address: Gianfranco Vulpiani, Dept. of Civil Protection, Presidency of the Council of Ministers, via Vitorchiano 4, 00189 Rome, Italy. E-mail: gianfranco.vulpiani@protezionecivile.it

Abstract

Radar-rainfall estimation is a complex process that involves several error sources, some of which are related to the environmental context. The presence of orographic obstacles heavily affects the quality of the retrieved radar products. In relatively flat terrain conditions, dual-polarization capability has been proven either to increase the data quality or to improve the rainfall estimate. The potential benefit of using polarimetric techniques for precipitation retrieval is evaluated here using data coming from two radar systems operating in Italy under complex-orography conditions. The analysis outlines encouraging results that might open new scenarios for operational applications. Indeed, the applied rainfall algorithm employing specific differential phase mostly outperformed the examined reflectivity-based retrieval techniques except for the analyzed winter storm. In the latter case, the likely contamination by frozen or melting snow tended to degrade the performance of the examined Kdp-based rainfall algorithms.

Corresponding author address: Gianfranco Vulpiani, Dept. of Civil Protection, Presidency of the Council of Ministers, via Vitorchiano 4, 00189 Rome, Italy. E-mail: gianfranco.vulpiani@protezionecivile.it
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