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Estimating Raindrop Size Distributions and Vertical Air Motions with Spectral Difference Using Vertically Pointing Radar

Suzhou PangaCollege of Electronic Engineering, Chengdu University of Information Technology, Chengdu, China
bState Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China
cKey Laboratory of Atmospheric Sounding, China Meteorological Administration, Chengdu, China

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Zheng RuanbState Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China

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Ling YangaCollege of Electronic Engineering, Chengdu University of Information Technology, Chengdu, China
cKey Laboratory of Atmospheric Sounding, China Meteorological Administration, Chengdu, China

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Xiantong LiudInstitute of Tropical and Marine Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Guangzhou, China

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Zhaoyang HuoeNanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Academy of Atmospheric Physics, Nanjing, China

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Feng LibState Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China

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Runsheng GebState Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China

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Abstract

Doppler spectra measured by vertically pointing radars are inherently linked to raindrop size distributions (DSDs). But accurate estimation of DSDs remains challenging because raindrop spectra are broadened by atmospheric turbulence and shifted by vertical air motions. This paper presents a novel method to estimate vertical air motions in which there is no need to assume a model for DSD at each range gate. The theory of the new method is that the spectral difference between the adjacent range gates is contributed by vertical air motions and the variability of DSDs. The contribution of the change of DSDs is estimated by looking up the prepared tables [lookup tables (LUTs)] of raindrop velocity difference and shape function difference. Then the vertical air motions can be estimated by minimizing the cost function of the two spectra between the adjacent range gates. The retrieval algorithm is applied to three cases including a stratiform case and two convective cases observed by a C-band vertically pointing radar in Longmen, Guangdong Province, China, in June 2016. Before that, the spectrum broadening effect is removed by the traditional deconvolution method with a wind profiler. The vertical profiles of precipitation parameters are also retrieved to investigate the microphysical process. The precipitation parameters retrieved near the surface are compared with the ground data collected by a two-dimensional video disdrometer (2DVD), and the results show good agreement.

Significance Statement

Estimating vertical air motions and raindrop size distributions are of great help to improve precipitation forecasts and weather modification. This study developed a new method to estimate the vertical air motions using Doppler spectra measured by a vertically pointing radar. The advantage of the new method is that there is no need to assume models for raindrop size distributions. We applied the new method to a stratiform case and two convective cases, and the vertical profiles of precipitation parameters are retrieved. The results show that both the dynamic and microphysical processes in convective cases have larger variability than those in the stratiform case. In the future, the characteristics of more types of precipitation clouds will be investigated.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding authors: Zheng Ruan, ruanz@cma.gov.cn; Ling Yang, cimyang@cuit.edu.cn

Abstract

Doppler spectra measured by vertically pointing radars are inherently linked to raindrop size distributions (DSDs). But accurate estimation of DSDs remains challenging because raindrop spectra are broadened by atmospheric turbulence and shifted by vertical air motions. This paper presents a novel method to estimate vertical air motions in which there is no need to assume a model for DSD at each range gate. The theory of the new method is that the spectral difference between the adjacent range gates is contributed by vertical air motions and the variability of DSDs. The contribution of the change of DSDs is estimated by looking up the prepared tables [lookup tables (LUTs)] of raindrop velocity difference and shape function difference. Then the vertical air motions can be estimated by minimizing the cost function of the two spectra between the adjacent range gates. The retrieval algorithm is applied to three cases including a stratiform case and two convective cases observed by a C-band vertically pointing radar in Longmen, Guangdong Province, China, in June 2016. Before that, the spectrum broadening effect is removed by the traditional deconvolution method with a wind profiler. The vertical profiles of precipitation parameters are also retrieved to investigate the microphysical process. The precipitation parameters retrieved near the surface are compared with the ground data collected by a two-dimensional video disdrometer (2DVD), and the results show good agreement.

Significance Statement

Estimating vertical air motions and raindrop size distributions are of great help to improve precipitation forecasts and weather modification. This study developed a new method to estimate the vertical air motions using Doppler spectra measured by a vertically pointing radar. The advantage of the new method is that there is no need to assume models for raindrop size distributions. We applied the new method to a stratiform case and two convective cases, and the vertical profiles of precipitation parameters are retrieved. The results show that both the dynamic and microphysical processes in convective cases have larger variability than those in the stratiform case. In the future, the characteristics of more types of precipitation clouds will be investigated.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding authors: Zheng Ruan, ruanz@cma.gov.cn; Ling Yang, cimyang@cuit.edu.cn
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