Influence of Ground Clutter Contamination on Polarimetric Radar Parameters

Katja Friedrich MeteoSvizzera, Locarno, Switzerland

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Urs Germann MeteoSvizzera, Locarno, Switzerland

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Pierre Tabary Direction des Systèmes d’Observation, Centre de Météorologie Radar, Météo-France, Trappes, France

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Abstract

The influence of ground clutter contamination on the estimation of polarimetric radar parameters, horizontal reflectivity (Zh), differential reflectivity (Zdr), correlation coefficient (ρhυ), and differential propagation phase (ϕdp) was examined. This study aims to derive the critical level of ground clutter contamination for Zh, Zdr, ρhυ, and ϕdp at which ground clutter influence exceeds predefined precision thresholds. Reference data with minimal ground clutter contamination consist of eight precipitation fields measured during three rain events characterized by stratiform and convective precipitation. Data were collected at an elevation angle of 0.8° by the Météo-France operational, polarimetric Doppler C-band weather radar located in Trappes, France, ∼30 km southwest of Paris. Nine different ground clutter signatures, ranging from point targets to more complex signatures typical for mountain ranges or urban obstacles, were added to the precipitation fields. This is done at the level of raw in-phase and quadrature component data in the two polarimetric channels. For each ground clutter signature, 30 simulations were conducted in which the mean reflectivity of ground clutter within the resolution volume varied between being 30 dB higher to 30 dB lower than the mean reflectivity of precipitation. Differences in Zh, Zdr, ρυ, and ϕdp between simulation and reference were shown as a function of ratio between ground clutter and precipitation intensities.

As a result of this study, horizontal reflectivity showed the lowest sensitivity to ground clutter contamination. Furthermore, a precision of 1.7 dBZ in Zh is achieved on average when the precipitation and ground clutter intensities are equal. Requiring a precision of 0.2 dB in Zdr and 3° in ϕdp, the reflectivity of precipitation needs to be on average ∼5.5 and ∼6 dB, respectively, higher compared to the reflectivity of ground clutter. The analysis also indicates that the highest sensitivity to the nine clutter signatures was derived for ρhυ. To meet a predefined precision threshold of 0.02, reflectivity of precipitation needs to be ∼13.5 dB higher than the reflectivity of ground clutter.

* Current affiliation: Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado

Corresponding author address: Dr. Katja Friedrich, ATOC, University of Colorado at Boulder, UCB 311, Boulder, CO 80309-0311. Email: katja.friedrich@colorado.edu

Abstract

The influence of ground clutter contamination on the estimation of polarimetric radar parameters, horizontal reflectivity (Zh), differential reflectivity (Zdr), correlation coefficient (ρhυ), and differential propagation phase (ϕdp) was examined. This study aims to derive the critical level of ground clutter contamination for Zh, Zdr, ρhυ, and ϕdp at which ground clutter influence exceeds predefined precision thresholds. Reference data with minimal ground clutter contamination consist of eight precipitation fields measured during three rain events characterized by stratiform and convective precipitation. Data were collected at an elevation angle of 0.8° by the Météo-France operational, polarimetric Doppler C-band weather radar located in Trappes, France, ∼30 km southwest of Paris. Nine different ground clutter signatures, ranging from point targets to more complex signatures typical for mountain ranges or urban obstacles, were added to the precipitation fields. This is done at the level of raw in-phase and quadrature component data in the two polarimetric channels. For each ground clutter signature, 30 simulations were conducted in which the mean reflectivity of ground clutter within the resolution volume varied between being 30 dB higher to 30 dB lower than the mean reflectivity of precipitation. Differences in Zh, Zdr, ρυ, and ϕdp between simulation and reference were shown as a function of ratio between ground clutter and precipitation intensities.

As a result of this study, horizontal reflectivity showed the lowest sensitivity to ground clutter contamination. Furthermore, a precision of 1.7 dBZ in Zh is achieved on average when the precipitation and ground clutter intensities are equal. Requiring a precision of 0.2 dB in Zdr and 3° in ϕdp, the reflectivity of precipitation needs to be on average ∼5.5 and ∼6 dB, respectively, higher compared to the reflectivity of ground clutter. The analysis also indicates that the highest sensitivity to the nine clutter signatures was derived for ρhυ. To meet a predefined precision threshold of 0.02, reflectivity of precipitation needs to be ∼13.5 dB higher than the reflectivity of ground clutter.

* Current affiliation: Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado

Corresponding author address: Dr. Katja Friedrich, ATOC, University of Colorado at Boulder, UCB 311, Boulder, CO 80309-0311. Email: katja.friedrich@colorado.edu

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