Utilization of Specific Attenuation for Tropical Rainfall Estimation in Complex Terrain

Yadong Wang Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, and NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

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Pengfei Zhang Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, and NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

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Alexander V. Ryzhkov Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, and NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

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Jian Zhang NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

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Pao-Liang Chang Central Weather Bureau, Taipei, Taiwan

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Abstract

To improve the accuracy of quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) in complex terrain, a new rainfall rate estimation algorithm has been developed and applied on two C-band dual-polarization radars in Taiwan. In this algorithm, the specific attenuation A is utilized in the rainfall rate R estimation, and the parameters used in the R(A) method were estimated using the local drop size distribution (DSD) and drop shape relation (DSR) observations. In areas of complex terrain where the lowest antenna tilt is completely blocked, observations from higher tilts are used in radar QPE. Correction of the vertical profile of rain rate estimated by the R(A) algorithm (VPRA) is applied to account for the vertical variability of rain. It has been found that the VPRA correction improved the accuracy of estimated rainfall in severely blocked areas. The R(A)–VPRA scheme was tested for different precipitation cases including typhoon, stratiform, and convective rain. Compared to existing rainfall estimation algorithms such as rainfall–reflectivity (RZ) and rainfall–specific differential phase (RKDP), the new method is able to provide accurate and robust rainfall estimates when the radar reflectivity is miscalibrated or significantly biased by attenuation or when the lower tilt of the radar beam is significantly blocked.

Corresponding author address: Yadong Wang, CIMMS, 120 David L. Boren Dr., Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: yadong.wang@noaa.gov

Abstract

To improve the accuracy of quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) in complex terrain, a new rainfall rate estimation algorithm has been developed and applied on two C-band dual-polarization radars in Taiwan. In this algorithm, the specific attenuation A is utilized in the rainfall rate R estimation, and the parameters used in the R(A) method were estimated using the local drop size distribution (DSD) and drop shape relation (DSR) observations. In areas of complex terrain where the lowest antenna tilt is completely blocked, observations from higher tilts are used in radar QPE. Correction of the vertical profile of rain rate estimated by the R(A) algorithm (VPRA) is applied to account for the vertical variability of rain. It has been found that the VPRA correction improved the accuracy of estimated rainfall in severely blocked areas. The R(A)–VPRA scheme was tested for different precipitation cases including typhoon, stratiform, and convective rain. Compared to existing rainfall estimation algorithms such as rainfall–reflectivity (RZ) and rainfall–specific differential phase (RKDP), the new method is able to provide accurate and robust rainfall estimates when the radar reflectivity is miscalibrated or significantly biased by attenuation or when the lower tilt of the radar beam is significantly blocked.

Corresponding author address: Yadong Wang, CIMMS, 120 David L. Boren Dr., Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: yadong.wang@noaa.gov
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