Use of Specific Attenuation for Rainfall Measurement at X-Band Radar Wavelengths. Part I: Radar Calibration and Partial Beam Blockage Estimation

Malte Diederich Atmospheric Dynamics and Predictability Branch, Hans Ertel Centre for Weather Research, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

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

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Clemens Simmer Meteorological Institute, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

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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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Silke Trömel Atmospheric Dynamics and Predictability Branch, Hans Ertel Centre for Weather Research, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

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Abstract

In a two-part paper, radar rain-rate retrievals using specific attenuation A suggested by Ryzhkov et al. are thoroughly investigated. Continuous time series of overlapping measurements from two twin polarimetric X-band weather radars in Germany during the summers of 2011–13 are used to analyze various aspects of rain-rate retrieval, including miscalibration correction, mitigation of ground clutter contamination and partial beam blockage (PBB), sensitivity to precipitation characteristics, and the temperature assumptions of the R(A) technique. In this paper, the relations inherent to the R(A) method are used to estimate radar reflectivity Z from A and compare it to the measured Z in order to estimate PBB and calibration offsets for both radars. The fields of Z estimated from A for both radars are consistent, and the differences between Z(A) and measured Z are in good agreement with the ones calculated using either consistency relations between reflectivity at horizontal polarization ZH, differential reflectivity ZDR, and specific differential phase KDP in rain or a digital elevation model in the presence of PBB. In the analysis, the dependence of A on temperature appears to have minimal effects on the overall performance of the method. As expected, the difference between Z(A) and attenuation-corrected measured Z observations varies with rain type and exhibits a weak systematic dependency on rainfall intensity; thus, averaging over several rain events is required to obtain reliable estimates of the Z biases caused by radar miscalibration and PBB.

Corresponding author address: Malte Diederich, Hans Ertel Centre for Weather Research, University of Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 20, 53121 Bonn, Germany. E-mail: malte.diederich@uni-bonn.de

Abstract

In a two-part paper, radar rain-rate retrievals using specific attenuation A suggested by Ryzhkov et al. are thoroughly investigated. Continuous time series of overlapping measurements from two twin polarimetric X-band weather radars in Germany during the summers of 2011–13 are used to analyze various aspects of rain-rate retrieval, including miscalibration correction, mitigation of ground clutter contamination and partial beam blockage (PBB), sensitivity to precipitation characteristics, and the temperature assumptions of the R(A) technique. In this paper, the relations inherent to the R(A) method are used to estimate radar reflectivity Z from A and compare it to the measured Z in order to estimate PBB and calibration offsets for both radars. The fields of Z estimated from A for both radars are consistent, and the differences between Z(A) and measured Z are in good agreement with the ones calculated using either consistency relations between reflectivity at horizontal polarization ZH, differential reflectivity ZDR, and specific differential phase KDP in rain or a digital elevation model in the presence of PBB. In the analysis, the dependence of A on temperature appears to have minimal effects on the overall performance of the method. As expected, the difference between Z(A) and attenuation-corrected measured Z observations varies with rain type and exhibits a weak systematic dependency on rainfall intensity; thus, averaging over several rain events is required to obtain reliable estimates of the Z biases caused by radar miscalibration and PBB.

Corresponding author address: Malte Diederich, Hans Ertel Centre for Weather Research, University of Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 20, 53121 Bonn, Germany. E-mail: malte.diederich@uni-bonn.de
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