An Alternative Approach to Estimating Rainfall Rate by Radar Using Propagation Differential Phase Shift

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  • 1 Applied Research Corporation, Landover, Maryland
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Abstract

In this work it is shown that for frequencies from 3 to 13 GHz, the ratio of the specific propagation differential phase shift ΦDP to the rainfall rate can be specified essentially independently of the form of the drop size distribution by a function only of the mass-weighted mean drop size Dm. This significantly reduces one source of substantial bias errors common to most other techniques for measuring rain by radar. For frequencies 9 GHz and greater, the coefficient can be well estimated from the ratio of the specific differential attenuation to ΦDP, while at nonattenuating frequencies such as 3 GHz, the coefficient can be well estimated using the differential reflectivity.

In practice it appears that this approach yields better estimates of the rainfall rate than any other current technique. The best results are most likely at 13.80 GHz, followed by those at 2.80 GHz. An optimum radar system for measuring rain should probably include components at both frequencies so that when signals at 13.8 GHz are lost because of attenuation, good measurements are still possible at the lower frequency.

Abstract

In this work it is shown that for frequencies from 3 to 13 GHz, the ratio of the specific propagation differential phase shift ΦDP to the rainfall rate can be specified essentially independently of the form of the drop size distribution by a function only of the mass-weighted mean drop size Dm. This significantly reduces one source of substantial bias errors common to most other techniques for measuring rain by radar. For frequencies 9 GHz and greater, the coefficient can be well estimated from the ratio of the specific differential attenuation to ΦDP, while at nonattenuating frequencies such as 3 GHz, the coefficient can be well estimated using the differential reflectivity.

In practice it appears that this approach yields better estimates of the rainfall rate than any other current technique. The best results are most likely at 13.80 GHz, followed by those at 2.80 GHz. An optimum radar system for measuring rain should probably include components at both frequencies so that when signals at 13.8 GHz are lost because of attenuation, good measurements are still possible at the lower frequency.

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