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Differential Reflectivity Calibration for Operational Radars

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  • 1 Arpa Piemonte—Area Previsione e Monitoraggio Ambientale, Torino, Italy
  • | 2 Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (CNR), Rome, Italy
  • | 3 Arpa Piemonte—Area Previsione e Monitoraggio Ambientale, Torino, Italy
  • | 4 Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (CNR), Rome, Italy
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Abstract

The conventional technique for calibrating Zdr using natural scatterers is based on vertical-looking observations. In some operational weather radar, this method is not applicable because of mechanical constraints that prohibit vertical measurement or choices in the scanning strategies. A technique for calibrating Zdr based on properties of rain returns is proposed and analyzed. The technique is based on an examination of properties of differential reflectivity measurements collected at increasing elevations. Differential reflectivity observed in rain decreases with increasing elevation due to the increasing view angle. Using the hypothesis of uniform microphysical profiles below the bright band, deviations of the profile of differential reflectivity with elevation with respect to the theoretical profile can be used to detect and quantify the presence of a bias on differential reflectivity. To apply this concept in the presence of a nonuniform microphysical profile, the contribution of vertical changes in microphysics to Zdr variation in height is also accounted for. An error parameter associated with the estimated Zdr bias can be used as a quality indicator of the bias estimation; it allows definition of a criterion based on a threshold of root-mean-square error that permits acceptance or rejection of a Zdr bias estimation obtained with the proposed method. The technique is demonstrated using data collected by an operational weather radar at Arpa Piemonte (Italy) and evaluated using independent disdrometer measurement. Results show that under certain conditions discussed in the paper, this method can provide Zdr calibration within an accuracy of 0.1 dB.

Corresponding author address: Renzo Bechini, Arpa Piemonte—Area Previsione e Monitoraggio Ambientale, Corso Unione Sovietica, 216, Torino 10134, Italy. Email: r.bechini@arpa.piemonte.it

Abstract

The conventional technique for calibrating Zdr using natural scatterers is based on vertical-looking observations. In some operational weather radar, this method is not applicable because of mechanical constraints that prohibit vertical measurement or choices in the scanning strategies. A technique for calibrating Zdr based on properties of rain returns is proposed and analyzed. The technique is based on an examination of properties of differential reflectivity measurements collected at increasing elevations. Differential reflectivity observed in rain decreases with increasing elevation due to the increasing view angle. Using the hypothesis of uniform microphysical profiles below the bright band, deviations of the profile of differential reflectivity with elevation with respect to the theoretical profile can be used to detect and quantify the presence of a bias on differential reflectivity. To apply this concept in the presence of a nonuniform microphysical profile, the contribution of vertical changes in microphysics to Zdr variation in height is also accounted for. An error parameter associated with the estimated Zdr bias can be used as a quality indicator of the bias estimation; it allows definition of a criterion based on a threshold of root-mean-square error that permits acceptance or rejection of a Zdr bias estimation obtained with the proposed method. The technique is demonstrated using data collected by an operational weather radar at Arpa Piemonte (Italy) and evaluated using independent disdrometer measurement. Results show that under certain conditions discussed in the paper, this method can provide Zdr calibration within an accuracy of 0.1 dB.

Corresponding author address: Renzo Bechini, Arpa Piemonte—Area Previsione e Monitoraggio Ambientale, Corso Unione Sovietica, 216, Torino 10134, Italy. Email: r.bechini@arpa.piemonte.it

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