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Correction of Radar QPE Errors Associated with Low and Partially Observed Brightband Layers

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  • 1 Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, and NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma, and College of Atmospheric Science, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
  • | 2 NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

The melting of aggregated snow/crystals often results in an enhancement of the reflectivity observed by weather radars, and this is commonly referenced as the bright band (BB). The locally high reflectivity often causes overestimation in radar quantitative precipitation estimates (QPE) if no appropriate correction is applied. When the melting layer is high, a complete BB layer profile (including top, peak, and bottom) can be observed by the ground radar, and a vertical profile of reflectivity (VPR) correction can be made to reduce the BB impact. When a melting layer is near the ground and the bottom part of the bright band cannot be observed by the ground radar, a VPR correction cannot be made directly from the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) radar observations. This paper presents a new VPR correction method under this situation. From high-resolution precipitation profiler data, an empirical relationship between BB peak and BB bottom is developed. The empirical relationship is combined with the apparent BB peak observed by volume scan radars and the BB bottom is found. Radar QPEs are then corrected based on the estimated BB bottom. The new method was tested on 13 radars during seven low brightband events over different areas in the United States. It is shown to be effective in reducing the radar QPE overestimation under low brightband situations.

Corresponding author address: Youcun Qi, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma and NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, 120 David L Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: Youcun.Qi@noaa.gov

Abstract

The melting of aggregated snow/crystals often results in an enhancement of the reflectivity observed by weather radars, and this is commonly referenced as the bright band (BB). The locally high reflectivity often causes overestimation in radar quantitative precipitation estimates (QPE) if no appropriate correction is applied. When the melting layer is high, a complete BB layer profile (including top, peak, and bottom) can be observed by the ground radar, and a vertical profile of reflectivity (VPR) correction can be made to reduce the BB impact. When a melting layer is near the ground and the bottom part of the bright band cannot be observed by the ground radar, a VPR correction cannot be made directly from the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) radar observations. This paper presents a new VPR correction method under this situation. From high-resolution precipitation profiler data, an empirical relationship between BB peak and BB bottom is developed. The empirical relationship is combined with the apparent BB peak observed by volume scan radars and the BB bottom is found. Radar QPEs are then corrected based on the estimated BB bottom. The new method was tested on 13 radars during seven low brightband events over different areas in the United States. It is shown to be effective in reducing the radar QPE overestimation under low brightband situations.

Corresponding author address: Youcun Qi, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma and NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, 120 David L Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: Youcun.Qi@noaa.gov
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