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The Effect of Vertical Air Motions on Rain Rates and Median Volume Diameter Determined from Combined UHF and VHF Wind Profiler Measurements and Comparisons with Rain Gauge Measurements

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  • 1 Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

Two different frequency radar wind profilers (920 and 50 MHz) were used to retrieve rain rates from a long-lasting rainfall event observed near Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, during the 1993–94 wet season. In this technique, 50-MHz data are used to derive the vertical air motion parameters (vertical velocity and spectral width); the 920-MHz data are then used to obtain the precipitation characteristics with the vertical air motion corrections. A comparison of the retrieved rain rates with rain gauge measurements shows excellent agreement. A detailed examination of the mean vertical velocity and spectral width corrections in the rain retrieval shows that the error due to an uncorrected mean vertical velocity can be as large as 100%, and the error for an uncorrected spectral width was about 10% for the range of mean vertical velocity and spectral width considered. There was a strong functional dependence between the retrieved mean vertical velocity and percentage difference between observed and retrieved rain rates with and without vertical air motion corrections. The corresponding functional dependence with and without the spectral width corrections was small but significant. An uncorrected upward mean vertical velocity overestimates rain rates, whereas an uncorrected downward mean vertical velocity underestimates rain rates. Uncorrected spectral width estimates have a tendency to overestimate rain rates. There are additional errors in the width correction because of antenna beam mismatching. A method is discussed to quantitatively evaluate this effect, and it is shown to be relatively small compared to the first-order mean vertical velocity correction.

* Current affiliation: Bureau of Meteorology Research Center, Melbourne, Australia.

Current affiliation: TRMM Office, Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Deepak K. Rajopadhyaya, CIRES, Campus Box 216, Boulder, CO 80309.

Email: drajopad@numbat.colorado.edu

Abstract

Two different frequency radar wind profilers (920 and 50 MHz) were used to retrieve rain rates from a long-lasting rainfall event observed near Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, during the 1993–94 wet season. In this technique, 50-MHz data are used to derive the vertical air motion parameters (vertical velocity and spectral width); the 920-MHz data are then used to obtain the precipitation characteristics with the vertical air motion corrections. A comparison of the retrieved rain rates with rain gauge measurements shows excellent agreement. A detailed examination of the mean vertical velocity and spectral width corrections in the rain retrieval shows that the error due to an uncorrected mean vertical velocity can be as large as 100%, and the error for an uncorrected spectral width was about 10% for the range of mean vertical velocity and spectral width considered. There was a strong functional dependence between the retrieved mean vertical velocity and percentage difference between observed and retrieved rain rates with and without vertical air motion corrections. The corresponding functional dependence with and without the spectral width corrections was small but significant. An uncorrected upward mean vertical velocity overestimates rain rates, whereas an uncorrected downward mean vertical velocity underestimates rain rates. Uncorrected spectral width estimates have a tendency to overestimate rain rates. There are additional errors in the width correction because of antenna beam mismatching. A method is discussed to quantitatively evaluate this effect, and it is shown to be relatively small compared to the first-order mean vertical velocity correction.

* Current affiliation: Bureau of Meteorology Research Center, Melbourne, Australia.

Current affiliation: TRMM Office, Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Deepak K. Rajopadhyaya, CIRES, Campus Box 216, Boulder, CO 80309.

Email: drajopad@numbat.colorado.edu

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