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  • Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM): Science and Applications x
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Daniel J. Cecil
,
Michael B. Solomon
,
Retha Mecikalski
, and
Kenneth D. Leppert II

Abstract

Using passive microwave brightness temperatures (Tbs) from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission Microwave Imager (GMI) and hydrometeor identification (HID) data from dual-polarization ground radars, empirical lookup tables are developed for a multifrequency estimation of the likelihood a precipitation column includes certain hydrometeor types, as a function of Tb . Eight years of co-located Tbs and HID data from the GPM Validation Network are used for development and testing of the GMI-based HID retrieval, with 2015-2020 used for training and 2021-2022 used for testing the GMI-based HID retrieval. The occurrence of profiles with hail and graupel are both slightly underpredicted by the lookup tables, but the percentage of profiles predicted is highly correlated with the percentage observed (0.98 correlation coefficient for hail, and 0.99 for graupel). By having snow appear before rain in the hierarchy, the sample size for rain, without ice aloft, is fairly small, and the percentage of rain profiles is less than snow for all Tbs.

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E. Montoya Duque
,
Y. Huang
,
P. T. May
, and
S. T. Siems

Abstract

Recent voyages of the Australian R/V Investigator across the remote Southern Ocean have provided unprecedented observations of precipitation made with both an Ocean Rainfall and Ice-Phase Precipitation Measurement Network (OceanRAIN) maritime disdrometer and a dual-polarization C-band weather radar (OceanPOL). This present study employs these observations to evaluate the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) and the fifth major global reanalysis produced by ECMWF (ERA5) precipitation products. Working at a resolution of 60 min and 0.25° (∼25 km), light rain and drizzle are most frequently observed across the region. The IMERG product overestimated precipitation intensity when evaluated against the OceanRAIN but captured the frequency of occurrence well. Looking at the synoptic/process scale, IMERG was found to be the least accurate (overestimated intensity) under warm-frontal and high-latitude cyclone conditions, where multilayer clouds were commonly present. Under postfrontal conditions, IMERG underestimated the precipitation frequency. In comparison, ERA5’s skill was more consistent across various synoptic conditions, except for high pressure conditions where the precipitation frequency (intensity) was highly overestimated (underestimated). Using the OceanPOL radar, an area-to-area analysis (fractional skill score) finds that ERA5 has greater skill than IMERG. There is little agreement in the phase classification between the OceanRAIN disdrometer, IMERG, and ERA5. The comparisons are complicated by the various assumptions for phase classification in the different datasets.

Significance Statement

Our best quantitative estimates of precipitation over the remote, pristine Southern Ocean (SO) continue to suffer from a high degree of uncertainty, with large differences present among satellite-based and reanalysis products. New instrumentation on the R/V Investigator, specifically a dual-polarization C-band weather radar (OceanPOL) and a maritime disdrometer (OceanRAIN), provide unprecedented high-quality observations of precipitation across the SO that will aid in improving precipitation estimates in this region. We use these observations to evaluate the IMERG and ERA5 precipitation products. We find that, in general, IMERG overestimated precipitation intensity, but captured the frequency of occurrence well. In comparison, ERA5 was found to overestimate the frequency of precipitation. Using the OceanPOL radar, an area-to-area analysis finds that ERA5 has greater skill than IMERG.

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Riku Shimizu
,
Shoichi Shige
,
Toshio Iguchi
,
Cheng-Ku Yu
, and
Lin-Wen Cheng

Abstract

The Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR), which consists of a Ku-band precipitation radar (KuPR) and a Ka-band precipitation radar (KaPR) on board the GPM Core Observatory, cannot observe precipitation at low altitudes near the ground contaminated by surface clutter. This near-surface region is called the blind zone. DPR estimates the clutter-free bottom (CFB), which is the lowest altitude not included in the blind zone, and estimates precipitation at altitudes higher than the CFB. High CFBs, which are common over mountainous areas, represent obstacles to detection of shallow precipitation and estimation of low-level enhanced precipitation. We compared KuPR data with rain gauge data from Da-Tun Mountain of northern Taiwan acquired from March 2014 to February 2020. A total of 12 cases were identified in which the KuPR missed some rainfall with intensity of >10 mm h−1 that was observed by rain gauges. Comparison of KuPR profile and ground-based radar profile revealed that shallow precipitation in the KuPR blind zone was missed because the CFB was estimated to be higher than the lower bound of the range free from surface echoes. In the original operational algorithm, CFB was estimated using only the received power data of the KuPR. In this study, the CFB was identified by the sharp increase in the difference between the received powers of the KuPR and the KaPR at altitude affected by surface clutter. By lowering the CFB, the KuPR succeeded in detection and estimation of shallow precipitation.

Significance Statement

The Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) on board the GPM Core Observatory cannot capture precipitation in the low-altitude region near the ground contaminated by surface clutter. This region is called the blind zone. The DPR estimates the clutter-free bottom (CFB), which is the lower bound of the range free from surface echoes, and uses data higher than CFB. DPR consists of a Ku-band precipitation radar (KuPR) and a Ka-band precipitation radar (KaPR). KuPR missed some shallow precipitation more than 10 mm h−1 in the blind zone over Da-Tun Mountain of northern Taiwan because of misjudged CFB estimation. Using both the KuPR and the KaPR, we improved the CFB estimation algorithm, which lowered the CFB, narrowed the blind zone, and improved the capability to detect shallow precipitation.

Open access
Veljko Petković
,
Paula J. Brown
,
Wesley Berg
,
David L. Randel
,
Spencer R. Jones
, and
Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

Several decades of continuous improvements in satellite precipitation algorithms have resulted in fairly accurate level-2 precipitation products for local-scale applications. Numerous studies have been carried out to quantify random and systematic errors at individual validation sites and regional networks. Understanding uncertainties at larger scales, however, has remained a challenge. Temporal changes in precipitation regional biases, regime morphology, sampling, and observation-vector information content, all play important roles in defining the accuracy of satellite rainfall retrievals. This study considers these contributors to offer a quantitative estimate of uncertainty in recently produced global precipitation climate data record. Generated from intercalibrated observations collected by a constellation of passive microwave (PMW) radiometers over the course of 30 years, this data record relies on Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission enterprise PMW precipitation retrieval to offer a long-term global monthly precipitation estimates with corresponding uncertainty at 5° scales. To address changes in the information content across different constellation members the study develops synthetic datasets from GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) sensor, while sampling- and morphology-related uncertainties are quantified using GPM’s dual-frequency precipitation radar (DPR). Special attention is given to separating precipitation into self-similar states that appear to be consistent across environmental conditions. Results show that the variability of bias patterns can be explained by the relative occurrence of different precipitation states across the regions and used to calculate product’s uncertainty. It is found that at 5° spatial scale monthly mean precipitation uncertainties in tropics can exceed 10%.

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Marc Mandement
,
Pierre Kirstetter
, and
Heather Reeves

Abstract

The accuracy and uncertainty of radar echo-top heights estimated by ground-based radars remain largely unknown despite their critical importance for applications ranging from aviation weather forecasting to severe weather diagnosis. Because the vantage point of space is more suited than that of ground-based radars for the estimation of echo-top heights, the use of spaceborne radar observations is explored as an external reference for cross comparison. An investigation has been carried out across the conterminous United States by comparing the NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) system with the space-based radar on board the NASA–JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement satellite platform. No major bias was assessed between the two products. An annual cycle of differences is found, driven by an underestimation of the stratiform cloud echo-top heights and an overestimation of the convective ones. The investigation of the systematic biases for different radar volume coverage patterns (VCP) shows that scanning strategies with fewer tilts and greater voids as VCP 21/121/221 contribute to overestimations observed for high MRMS tops. For VCP 12/212, the automated volume scan evaluation and termination (AVSET) function increases the radar cone of silence, causing overestimations when the echo top lies above the highest elevation scan. However, it seems that for low echo tops the shorter refresh rates contribute to mitigate underestimations, especially in stratiform cases.

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Ali Tokay
,
Liang Liao
,
Robert Meneghini
,
Charles N. Helms
,
S. Joseph Munchak
,
David B. Wolff
, and
Patrick N. Gatlin

Abstract

Parameters of the normalized gamma particle size distribution (PSD) have been retrieved from the Precipitation Image Package (PIP) snowfall observations collected during the International Collaborative Experiment–PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic winter games (ICE-POP 2018). Two of the gamma PSD parameters, the mass-weighted particle diameter D mass and the normalized intercept parameter NW , have median values of 1.15–1.31 mm and 2.84–3.04 log(mm−1 m−3), respectively. This range arises from the choice of the relationship between the maximum versus equivalent diameter, D mxD eq, and the relationship between the Reynolds and Best numbers, Re–X. Normalization of snow water equivalent rate (SWER) and ice water content W by NW reduces the range in NW , resulting in well-fitted power-law relationships between SWER/NW and D mass and between W/NW and D mass. The bulk descriptors of snowfall are calculated from PIP observations and from the gamma PSD with values of the shape parameter μ ranging from −2 to 10. NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, which adopted the normalized gamma PSD, assumes μ = 2 and 3 in its two separate algorithms. The mean fractional bias (MFB) of the snowfall parameters changes with μ, where the functional dependence on μ depends on the specific snowfall parameter of interest. The MFB of the total concentration was underestimated by 0.23–0.34 when μ = 2 and by 0.29–0.40 when μ = 3, whereas the MFB of SWER had a much narrower range (from −0.03 to 0.04) for the same μ values.

Free access
Gerald G. Mace
,
Alain Protat
,
Sally Benson
, and
Paul McGlynn

Abstract

We use dual-polarization C-band data collected in the Southern Ocean to examine the properties of snow observed during a voyage in the austral summer of 2018. Using existing forward modeling formalisms based on an assumption of Rayleigh scattering by soft spheroids, an optimal estimation algorithm is implemented to infer snow properties from horizontally polarized radar reflectivity, the differential radar reflectivity, and the specific differential phase. From the dual-polarization observables, we estimate ice water content qi , the mass-mean particle size Dm , and the exponent of the mass–dimensional relationship bm that, with several assumptions, allow for evaluation of snow bulk density, and snow number concentration. Upon evaluating the uncertainties associated with measurement and forward model errors, we determine that the algorithm can retrieve qi , Dm , and bm within single-pixel uncertainties conservatively estimated in the range 120%, 60%, and 40%, respectively. Applying the algorithm to open-cellular convection in the Southern Ocean, we find evidence for secondary ice formation processes within multicellular complexes. In stratiform precipitation systems we find snow properties and infer processes that are distinctly different from the shallow convective systems with evidence for riming and aggregation being common. We also find that embedded convection within the frontal system produces precipitation properties consistent with graupel. Examining 5 weeks of data, we show that snow in open-cellular cumulus has higher overall bulk density than snow in stratiform precipitation systems with implications for interpreting measurements from space-based active remote sensors.

Open access
Randy J. Chase
,
Stephen W. Nesbitt
, and
Greg M. McFarquhar

Abstract

With the launch of the Global Precipitation Measurement Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (GPM-DPR) in 2014, renewed interest in retrievals of snowfall in the atmospheric column has occurred. The current operational GPM-DPR retrieval largely underestimates surface snowfall accumulation. Here, a neural network (NN) trained on data that are synthetically derived from state-of-the-art ice particle scattering models and measured in situ particle size distributions (PSDs) is used to retrieve two parameters of the PSD: liquid equivalent mass-weighted mean diameter D m l and the liquid equivalent normalized intercept parameter N w l . Evaluations against a test dataset showed statistically significantly improved ice water content (IWC) retrievals relative to a standard power-law approach and an estimate of the current GPM-DPR algorithm. Furthermore, estimated median percent errors (MPE) on the test dataset were −0.7%, +2.6%, and +1% for D m l , N w l , and IWC, respectively. An evaluation on three case studies with collocated radar observations and in situ microphysical data shows that the NN retrieval has MPE of −13%, +120%, and +10% for D m l , N w l , and IWC, respectively. The NN retrieval applied directly to GPM-DPR data provides improved snowfall retrievals relative to the default algorithm, removing the default algorithm’s ray-to-ray instabilities and recreating the high-resolution radar retrieval results to within 15% MPE. Future work should aim to improve the retrieval by including PSD data collected in more diverse conditions and rimed particles. Furthermore, different desired outputs such as the PSD shape parameter and snowfall rate could be included in future iterations.

Full access
Sybille Y. Schoger
,
Dmitri Moisseev
,
Annakaisa von Lerber
,
Susanne Crewell
, and
Kerstin Ebell

Abstract

Two power-law relations linking equivalent radar reflectivity factor Z e and snowfall rate S are derived for a K-band Micro Rain Radar (MRR) and for a W-band cloud radar. For the development of these Z e –S relationships, a dataset of calculated and measured variables is used. Surface-based video-disdrometer measurements were collected during snowfall events over five winters at the high-latitude site in Hyytiälä, Finland. The data from 2014 to 2018 include particle size distributions (PSD) and their fall velocities, from which snowflake masses were derived. The K- and W-band Z e values are computed using these surface-based observations and snowflake scattering properties as provided by T-matrix and single-particle scattering tables, respectively. The uncertainty analysis shows that the K-band snowfall-rate estimation is significantly improved by including the intercept parameter N 0 of the PSD calculated from concurrent disdrometer measurements. If N 0 is used to adjust the prefactor of the Z e –S relationship, the RMSE of the snowfall-rate estimate can be reduced from 0.37 to around 0.11 mm h−1. For W-band radar, a Z e –S relationship with constant parameters for all available snow events shows a similar uncertainty when compared with the method that includes the PSD intercept parameter. To demonstrate the performance of the proposed Z e –S relationships, they are applied to measurements of the MRR and the W-band microwave radar for Arctic clouds at the Arctic research base operated by the German Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and the French Polar Institute Paul Emile Victor (IPEV) (AWIPEV) in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, Norway. The resulting snowfall-rate estimates show good agreement with in situ snowfall observations while other Z e –S relationships from literature reveal larger differences.

Open access
Yonghe Liu
,
Jinming Feng
,
Zongliang Yang
,
Yonghong Hu
, and
Jianlin Li

Abstract

Few statistical downscaling applications have provided gridded products that can provide downscaled values for a no-gauge area as is done by dynamical downscaling. In this study, a gridded statistical downscaling scheme is presented to downscale summer precipitation to a dense grid that covers North China. The main innovation of this scheme is interpolating the parameters of single-station models to this dense grid and assigning optimal predictor values according to an interpolated predictand–predictor distance function. This method can produce spatial dependence (spatial autocorrelation) and transmit the spatial heterogeneity of predictor values from the large-scale predictors to the downscaled outputs. Such gridded output at no-gauge stations shows performances comparable to that at the gauged stations. The area mean precipitation of the downscaled results is comparable to other products. The main value of the downscaling scheme is that it can obtain reasonable outputs for no-gauge stations.

Full access