Generation and Verification of Rainfall Estimates from 10-Yr Volumetric Weather Radar Measurements

Edouard Goudenhoofdt Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium

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Laurent Delobbe Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium

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Abstract

Volumetric measurements from a C-band weather radar in Belgium are reprocessed over the years 2005–14 to improve the quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE). The data quality is controlled using static clutter and beam blockage maps and clutter identification based on vertical gradients, horizontal texture, and satellite observations. A new QPE is obtained using stratiform–convective classification, a 40-min averaged vertical profile of reflectivity (VPR), a brightband identification, and a specific transformation to rain rates for each precipitation regime. The rain rates are interpolated on a 500-m Cartesian grid, linearly accumulated, and combined with hourly rain gauge measurements using mean field bias or kriging with external drift (KED). The algorithms have been fine-tuned on 13 cases with various meteorological situations. A detailed validation against independent daily rain gauge measurements reveals the importance of VPR correction. A 10-yr verification shows a significant improvement of the new QPE, especially at short and long range, with roughly 50% increase in coverage. Adding the KED allows average improvements of 38%, 35%, and 80% for the mean absolute difference, the multiplicative error spread, and the fraction of good estimates, respectively. The benefit is higher in widespread situations and increases when considering higher rainfall amounts. The mitigation of radar artifacts is clearly visible on 10-yr statistics, including mean annual totals, probabilities to exceed 10 mm, and maxima for hourly and daily accumulation. The correlation of mean totals with rain gauges increases from 0.54 to 0.66 with the new QPE and to 0.8 adding KED.

Corresponding author address: Edouard Goudenhoofdt, Observations Department, Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, Avenue Circulaire 3, 1180 Brussels, Belgium. E-mail: edouard.goudenhoofdt@meteo.be

Abstract

Volumetric measurements from a C-band weather radar in Belgium are reprocessed over the years 2005–14 to improve the quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE). The data quality is controlled using static clutter and beam blockage maps and clutter identification based on vertical gradients, horizontal texture, and satellite observations. A new QPE is obtained using stratiform–convective classification, a 40-min averaged vertical profile of reflectivity (VPR), a brightband identification, and a specific transformation to rain rates for each precipitation regime. The rain rates are interpolated on a 500-m Cartesian grid, linearly accumulated, and combined with hourly rain gauge measurements using mean field bias or kriging with external drift (KED). The algorithms have been fine-tuned on 13 cases with various meteorological situations. A detailed validation against independent daily rain gauge measurements reveals the importance of VPR correction. A 10-yr verification shows a significant improvement of the new QPE, especially at short and long range, with roughly 50% increase in coverage. Adding the KED allows average improvements of 38%, 35%, and 80% for the mean absolute difference, the multiplicative error spread, and the fraction of good estimates, respectively. The benefit is higher in widespread situations and increases when considering higher rainfall amounts. The mitigation of radar artifacts is clearly visible on 10-yr statistics, including mean annual totals, probabilities to exceed 10 mm, and maxima for hourly and daily accumulation. The correlation of mean totals with rain gauges increases from 0.54 to 0.66 with the new QPE and to 0.8 adding KED.

Corresponding author address: Edouard Goudenhoofdt, Observations Department, Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, Avenue Circulaire 3, 1180 Brussels, Belgium. E-mail: edouard.goudenhoofdt@meteo.be
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