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Kamil Mroz, Alessandro Battaglia, Timothy J. Lang, Simone Tanelli, and Gian Franco Sacco


A statistical analysis of simultaneous observations of more than 800 hailstorms over the continental United States performed by the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) and the ground-based Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) network has been carried out. Several distinctive features of DPR measurements of hail-bearing columns, potentially exploitable by hydrometeor classification algorithms, are identified. In particular, the height and the strength of the Ka-band reflectivity peak show a strong relationship with the hail shaft area within the instrument field of view (FOV). Signatures of multiple scattering (MS) at the Ka band are observed for a range of rimed particles, including but not exclusively for hail. MS amplifies uncertainty in the effective Ka reflectivity estimate and has a negative impact on the accuracy of dual-frequency rainfall retrievals at the ground. The hydrometeor composition of convective cells presents a large inhomogeneity within the DPR FOV. Strong nonuniform beamfilling (NUBF) introduces large ambiguities in the attenuation correction at Ku and Ka bands, which additionally hamper quantitative retrievals. The effective detection of profiles affected by MS is a very challenging task, since the inhomogeneity within the DPR FOV may result in measurements that look remarkably like MS signatures. The shape of the DPR reflectivity profiles is the result of the complex interplay between the scattering properties of the different hydrometeors, NUBF, and MS effects, which significantly reduces the ability of the DPR system to detect hail at the ground.

Open access
Catherine M. Naud, James F. Booth, Matthew Lebsock, and Mircea Grecu


Using cyclone-centered compositing and a database of extratropical-cyclone locations, the distribution of precipitation frequency and rate in oceanic extratropical cyclones is analyzed using satellite-derived datasets. The distribution of precipitation rates retrieved using two new datasets, the Global Precipitation Measurement radar–microwave radiometer combined product (GPM-CMB) and the Integrated Multisatellite Retrievals for GPM product (IMERG), is compared with CloudSat, and the differences are discussed. For reference, the composites of AMSR-E, GPCP, and two reanalyses are also examined. Cyclone-centered precipitation rates are found to be the largest with the IMERG and CloudSat datasets and lowest with GPM-CMB. A series of tests is conducted to determine the roles of swath width, swath location, sampling frequency, season, and epoch. In all cases, these effects are less than ~0.14 mm h−1 at 50-km resolution. Larger differences in the composites are related to retrieval biases, such as ground-clutter contamination in GPM-CMB and radar saturation in CloudSat. Overall the IMERG product reports precipitation more often, with larger precipitation rates at the center of the cyclones, in conditions of high precipitable water (PW). The CloudSat product tends to report more precipitation in conditions of dry or moderate PW. The GPM-CMB product tends to systematically report lower precipitation rates than the other two datasets. This intercomparison provides 1) modelers with an observational uncertainty and range (0.21–0.36 mm h−1 near the cyclone centers) when using composites of precipitation for model evaluation and 2) retrieval-algorithm developers with a categorical analysis of the sensitivity of the products to PW.

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Xiang Ni, Chuntao Liu, Daniel J. Cecil, and Qinghong Zhang


In previous studies, remote sensing properties of hailstorms have been discussed using various spaceborne sensors. Relationships between hail occurrence and strong passive microwave brightness temperature depressions have been established. Using a 16-yr precipitation-feature database derived from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, the performance of the TRMM Precipitation Radar and TRMM Microwave Imager is further investigated for hail detection. Detection criteria for hail larger than 19 mm are separately developed from Ku-band radar reflectivity and microwave brightness temperature properties of precipitation features that are collocated with surface hail reports over the southeastern and south-central United States. A threshold of 44 dBZ at −22°C is found to have the highest critical success index and Heidke skill score. The threshold of 230 K at 37 GHz yields the best scores among passive microwave properties. Using these two thresholds, global distributions of possible hail events are generated over 65°S–65°N using two years of observations from the Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory satellite. Differences in the derived hail geographical distributions are found between radar and passive microwave methods over tropical South America, the “Maritime Continent,” west-central Africa, Argentina, and South Africa. These discrepancies result from different vertical structures of the maximum radar reflectivity profiles over these regions relative to the southeastern and south-central United States, where the thresholds were established. Those differences generally led to overestimates in the tropics from the passive microwave methods, relative to the radar-based methods.

Open access