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Influence of Beam Broadening on the Accuracy of Radar Polarimetric Rainfall Estimation

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  • 1 Istituto di Scienze dell’Atmosfera e del Clima, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Area di Ricerca Roma-Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy
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Abstract

The quantitative estimation of rain rates using meteorological radar has been a major theme in radar meteorology and radar hydrology. The increase of interest in polarimetric radar is in part because polarization diversity can reduce the effect on radar precipitation estimates caused by raindrop size variability, which has allowed progress on radar rainfall estimation and on hydrometeorological applications. From an operational point of view, the promises regarding the improvement of radar rainfall accuracy have not yet been completely proven. The main reason behind these limits is the geometry of radar measurements combined with the variability of the spatial structure of the precipitation systems. To overcome these difficulties, a methodology has been developed to transform the estimated drop size distribution (DSD) provided by a vertically pointing micro rain radar to a profile given by a ground-based polarimetric radar. As a result, the rainfall rate at the ground is fixed at all ranges, whereas the broadening beam encompasses a large variability of DSDs. The resulting DSD profile is used to simulate the corresponding profile of radar measurements at C band. Rainfall algorithms based on polarimetric radar measurements were taken into account to estimate the rainfall into the radar beam. Finally, merit factors were used to achieve a quantitative analysis of the performance of the rainfall algorithm in comparison with the corresponding measurements at the ground obtained from a 2D video disdrometer (2DVD) that was positioned beside the micro rain radar. In this method, the behavior change of the merit factors in the range is directly attributable to the DSD variability inside the radar measurement volume, thus providing an assessment of the effects due to beam broadening.

Corresponding author address: Eugenio Gorgucci, Istituto di Scienze dell’Atmosfera e del Clima, CNR, Area di Ricerca Roma-Tor Vergata, Via Fosso del Cavaliere, 100-00133 Rome, Italy. E-mail: e.gorgucci@isac.cnr.it

Abstract

The quantitative estimation of rain rates using meteorological radar has been a major theme in radar meteorology and radar hydrology. The increase of interest in polarimetric radar is in part because polarization diversity can reduce the effect on radar precipitation estimates caused by raindrop size variability, which has allowed progress on radar rainfall estimation and on hydrometeorological applications. From an operational point of view, the promises regarding the improvement of radar rainfall accuracy have not yet been completely proven. The main reason behind these limits is the geometry of radar measurements combined with the variability of the spatial structure of the precipitation systems. To overcome these difficulties, a methodology has been developed to transform the estimated drop size distribution (DSD) provided by a vertically pointing micro rain radar to a profile given by a ground-based polarimetric radar. As a result, the rainfall rate at the ground is fixed at all ranges, whereas the broadening beam encompasses a large variability of DSDs. The resulting DSD profile is used to simulate the corresponding profile of radar measurements at C band. Rainfall algorithms based on polarimetric radar measurements were taken into account to estimate the rainfall into the radar beam. Finally, merit factors were used to achieve a quantitative analysis of the performance of the rainfall algorithm in comparison with the corresponding measurements at the ground obtained from a 2D video disdrometer (2DVD) that was positioned beside the micro rain radar. In this method, the behavior change of the merit factors in the range is directly attributable to the DSD variability inside the radar measurement volume, thus providing an assessment of the effects due to beam broadening.

Corresponding author address: Eugenio Gorgucci, Istituto di Scienze dell’Atmosfera e del Clima, CNR, Area di Ricerca Roma-Tor Vergata, Via Fosso del Cavaliere, 100-00133 Rome, Italy. E-mail: e.gorgucci@isac.cnr.it
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