Observations of Polarimetric Signatures in Supercells by an X-Band Mobile Doppler Radar

Jeffrey C. Snyder School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

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Howard B. Bluestein School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

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Vijay Venkatesh Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory, University of Massachusetts—Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts

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Stephen J. Frasier Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory, University of Massachusetts—Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts

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Abstract

Polarimetric weather radars significantly enhance the capability to infer the properties of scatterers within a resolution volume. Previous studies have identified several consistently seen polarimetric signatures in supercells observed in the central United States. Nearly all of these studies used data collected by fixed-site S- and C-band radars. Because there are few polarimetric mobile radars, relatively little has been documented in high-resolution polarimetric data from mobile radars. Compared to S and C bands, there has been very limited examination of polarimetric signatures at X band.

The primary focus of this paper is on one signature that has not been documented previously and one that has had little documentation at X band. The first signature, seen in at least seven supercell datasets collected by a mobile, X-band, polarimetric radar, consists of a narrow band of locally reduced reflectivity factor ZH and differential reflectivity, typically near the location where the hook echo “attaches” to the main body of the storm echo. No consistent pattern is seen in radial velocity VR or copolar cross correlation ρHV. The small size of this feature suggests a significant heterogeneity in precipitation microphysics, the cause and impact of which are unknown. The greater resolution and the scattering differences at X band compared to other frequencies may make this feature more apparent. The second signature consists of anomalously low ρHV in areas of high ZH along the left section (relative to storm motion) of the bounded weak-echo region. Examples of other polarimetric signatures at X band are provided.

Corresponding author address: Jeffrey Snyder, School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Suite 5900, Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: jsnyder@ou.edu

Abstract

Polarimetric weather radars significantly enhance the capability to infer the properties of scatterers within a resolution volume. Previous studies have identified several consistently seen polarimetric signatures in supercells observed in the central United States. Nearly all of these studies used data collected by fixed-site S- and C-band radars. Because there are few polarimetric mobile radars, relatively little has been documented in high-resolution polarimetric data from mobile radars. Compared to S and C bands, there has been very limited examination of polarimetric signatures at X band.

The primary focus of this paper is on one signature that has not been documented previously and one that has had little documentation at X band. The first signature, seen in at least seven supercell datasets collected by a mobile, X-band, polarimetric radar, consists of a narrow band of locally reduced reflectivity factor ZH and differential reflectivity, typically near the location where the hook echo “attaches” to the main body of the storm echo. No consistent pattern is seen in radial velocity VR or copolar cross correlation ρHV. The small size of this feature suggests a significant heterogeneity in precipitation microphysics, the cause and impact of which are unknown. The greater resolution and the scattering differences at X band compared to other frequencies may make this feature more apparent. The second signature consists of anomalously low ρHV in areas of high ZH along the left section (relative to storm motion) of the bounded weak-echo region. Examples of other polarimetric signatures at X band are provided.

Corresponding author address: Jeffrey Snyder, School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Suite 5900, Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: jsnyder@ou.edu
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