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Alexander V. Ryzhkov
,
Scott E. Giangrande
, and
Terry J. Schuur

Abstract

As part of the Joint Polarization Experiment (JPOLE), the National Severe Storms Laboratory conducted an operational demonstration of the polarimetric utility of the Norman, Oklahoma (KOUN), Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D). The capability of the KOUN radar to estimate rainfall is tested on a large dataset representing different seasons and different types of rain. A dense gauge network—the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Micronet—is used to validate different polarimetric algorithms for rainfall estimation. One-hour rain totals are estimated from the KOUN radar using conventional and polarimetric algorithms and are compared with hourly accumulations measured by the gauges. Both point and areal rain estimates are examined. A new “synthetic” rainfall algorithm has been developed for rainfall estimation. The use of the synthetic polarimetric algorithm results in significant reduction in the rms errors of hourly rain estimates when compared with the conventional nonpolarimetric relation: 1.7 times for point measurements and 3.7 times for areal rainfall measurements.

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Yadong Wang
,
Jian Zhang
,
Alexander V. Ryzhkov
, and
Lin Tang

Abstract

To obtain accurate radar quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) for extreme rainfall events such as land-falling typhoon systems in complex terrain, a new method was developed for C-band polarimetric radars. The new methodology includes a correction method based on vertical profiles of the specific differential propagation phase (VPSDP) for low-level blockage and an optimal relation between rainfall rate ( ) and the specific differential phase ( ). In the VPSDP-based correction approach, a screening process is applied to fields, where missing or unreliable data from lower tilts caused by severe beam blockage are replaced with data from upper and unblocked tilts. The data from upper tilts are adjusted to account for variations in the vertical profile of . The corrected field is then used for rain-rate estimations. To acquire an accurate QPE result, a new relation for C-band polarimetric radars was derived through simulations using drop size distribution (DSD) and drop shape relation (DSR) observations from typhoon systems in Taiwan. The VPSDP-based correction method with the new relation was evaluated using the typhoon cases of Morakot (2009) and Fanapi (2010).

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Dusan S. Zrnić
,
Valery M. Melnikov
, and
Alexander V. Ryzhkov

Abstract

Characteristics of the magnitude and phase of correlation coefficients between horizontally and vertically polarized returns from ground clutter echoes are quantified by analyzing histograms obtained with an 11-cm wavelength weather surveillance radar in Norman, Oklahoma. The radar receives simultaneously horizontal and vertical (SHV) electric fields and can transmit either horizontal fields or both vertical and horizontal fields. The differences between correlations obtained in this SHV mode and correlations measured in alternate H, V mode are reviewed; a histogram of differential phase obtained in Florida using alternate H, V mode is also presented. Data indicate that the backscatter differential phase of clutter has a broad histogram that completely overlaps the narrow histogram of precipitation echoes. This is important as it implies that a potent discriminator for separating clutter from meteorological echoes is the texture of the differential phase. Values of the copolar cross-correlation coefficient from clutter overlap completely those from precipitation, and effective discrimination is possible only if averages in range are taken. It is demonstrated that the total differential phase (system and backscatter) depends on the polarimetric measurement technique and the type of scatterers. In special circumstances, such as calibrating or monitoring the radar, clutter signal can be beneficial. Specifically, system differential phase can be estimated from histograms of ground clutter, receiver differential phase can be estimated from precipitation returns, and from these two, the differential phase of transmitted waves is easily computed.

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E. Ilotoviz
,
A. Khain
,
Alexander V. Ryzhkov
, and
Jeffrey C. Snyder

Abstract

Mechanisms of formation of differential reflectivity columns are investigated in simulations of a midlatitude summertime hailstorm with hailstones up to several centimeters in diameter. Simulations are performed using a new version of the Hebrew University Cloud Model (HUCM) with spectral bin microphysics. A polarimetric radar forward operator is used to calculate radar reflectivity and differential reflectivity Z DR. It is shown that Z DR columns are associated with raindrops and with hail particles growing in a wet growth regime within convective updrafts. The height and volume of Z DR columns increases with an increase in aerosol concentration. Small hail forming under clean conditions grows in updrafts largely in a dry growth regime corresponding to low Z DR. Characteristics of Z DR columns are highly correlated with vertical velocity, hail size, and aerosol concentration.

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Alexander V. Ryzhkov
,
Matthew R. Kumjian
,
Scott M. Ganson
, and
Alexander P. Khain

Abstract

Spectral (bin) microphysics models are used to simulate polarimetric radar variables in melting hail. Most computations are performed in a framework of a steady-state, one-dimensional column model. Vertical profiles of radar reflectivity factor Z, differential reflectivity Z DR, specific differential phase K DP, specific attenuation A h , and specific differential attenuation A DP are modeled at S, C, and X bands for a variety of size distributions of ice particles aloft. The impact of temperature lapse rate, humidity, vertical air velocities, and ice particle density on the vertical profiles of the radar variables is also investigated. Polarimetric radar signatures of melting hail depend on the degree of melting or the height of the radar resolution volume with respect to the freezing level, which determines the relative fractions of partially and completely melted hail (i.e., rain). Simulated vertical profiles of radar variables are very sensitive to radar wavelength and the slope of the size distribution of hail aloft, which is correlated well with maximal hail size. Analysis of relative contributions of different parts of the hail/rain size spectrum to the radar variables allows explanations of a number of experimentally observed features such as large differences in Z of hail at the three radar wavelengths, unusually high values of Z DR at C band, and relative insensitivity of the measurements at C and X bands to the presence of large hail exceeding 2.5 cm in diameter. Modeling results are consistent with S- and C-band polarimetric radar observations and are utilized in Part II for devising practical algorithms for hail detection and determination of hail size as well as attenuation correction and rainfall estimation in the presence of hail.

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Eyal Ilotoviz
,
Alexander P. Khain
,
Nir Benmoshe
,
Vaughan T. J. Phillips
, and
Alexander V. Ryzhkov

Abstract

A midlatitude hail storm was simulated using a new version of the spectral bin microphysics Hebrew University Cloud Model (HUCM) with a detailed description of time-dependent melting and freezing. In addition to size distributions of drops, plate-, columnar-, and branch-type ice crystals, snow, graupel, and hail, new distributions for freezing drops as well as for liquid water mass within precipitating ice particles were implemented to describe time-dependent freezing and wet growth of hail, graupel, and freezing drops.

Simulations carried out using different aerosol loadings show that an increase in aerosol loading leads to a decrease in the total mass of hail but also to a substantial increase in the maximum size of hailstones. Cumulative rain strongly increases with an increase in aerosol concentration from 100 to about 1000 cm−3. At higher cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations, the sensitivity of hailstones’ size and surface precipitation to aerosols decreases. The physical mechanism of these effects was analyzed. It was shown that the change in aerosol concentration leads to a change in the major mechanisms of hail formation and growth. The main effect of the increase in the aerosol concentration is the increase in the supercooled cloud water content. Accordingly, at high aerosol concentration, the hail grows largely by accretion of cloud droplets in the course of recycling in the cloud updraft zone. The main mechanism of hail formation in the case of low aerosol concentration is freezing of raindrops.

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Jacob T. Carlin
,
Alexander V. Ryzhkov
,
Jeffrey C. Snyder
, and
Alexander Khain

Abstract

The assimilation of radar data into storm-scale numerical weather prediction models has been shown to be beneficial for successfully modeling convective storms. Because of the difficulty of directly assimilating reflectivity (Z), hydrometeor mixing ratios, and sometimes rainfall rate, are often retrieved from Z observations using retrieval relations, and are assimilated as state variables. The most limiting (although widely employed) cases of these relations are derived, and their assumptions and limitations are discussed.

To investigate the utility of these retrieval relations for liquid water content (LWC) and ice water content (IWC) in rain and hail as well as the potential for improvement using polarimetric variables, two models with spectral bin microphysics coupled with a polarimetric radar operator are used: a one-dimensional melting hail model and the two-dimensional Hebrew University Cloud Model. The relationship between LWC and Z in pure rain varies spatially and temporally, with biases clearly seen using the normalized number concentration. Retrievals using Z perform the poorest while specific attenuation and specific differential phase shift (K DP) perform much better. Within rain–hail mixtures, separate estimation of LWC and IWC is necessary. Prohibitively large errors in the retrieved LWC may result when using Z. The quantity K DP can be used to effectively retrieve the LWC and to isolate the contribution of IWC to Z. It is found that the relationship between Z and IWC is a function of radar wavelength, maximum hail diameter, and principally the height below the melting layer, which must be accounted for in order to achieve accurate retrievals.

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Jeffrey C. Snyder
,
Alexander V. Ryzhkov
,
Matthew R. Kumjian
,
Alexander P. Khain
, and
Joseph Picca

Abstract

Observations and recent high-resolution numerical model simulations indicate that liquid water and partially frozen hydrometeors can be lofted considerably above the environmental 0°C level in the updrafts of convective storms owing to the warm thermal perturbation from latent heating within the updraft and to the noninstantaneous nature of drop freezing. Consequently, upward extensions of positive differential reflectivity (i.e., Z DR ≥ 1 dB)—called Z DR columns—may be a useful proxy for detecting the initiation of new convective storms and examining the evolution of convective storm updrafts. High-resolution numerical simulations with spectral bin microphysics and a polarimetric forward operator reveal a strong spatial association between updrafts and Z DR columns and show the utility of examining the structure and evolution of Z DR columns for assessing updraft evolution. This paper introduces an automated Z DR column algorithm designed to provide additional diagnostic and prognostic information pertinent to convective storm nowcasting. Although suboptimal vertical resolution above the 0°C level and limitations imposed by commonly used scanning strategies in the operational WSR-88D network can complicate Z DR column detection, examples provided herein show that the algorithm can provide operational and research-focused meteorologists with valuable information about the evolution of convective storms.

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Matthew R. Kumjian
,
Alexander V. Ryzhkov
,
Valery M. Melnikov
, and
Terry J. Schuur

Abstract

In recent years, there has been widespread interest in collecting and analyzing rapid updates of radar data in severe convective storms. To this end, conventional single-polarization rapid-scan radars and phased array radar systems have been employed in numerous studies. However, rapid updates of dual-polarization radar data in storms are not widely available. For this study, a rapid scanning strategy is developed for the polarimetric prototype research Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) radar in Norman, Oklahoma (KOUN), which emulates the future capabilities of a polarimetric multifunction phased array radar (MPAR). With this strategy, data are collected over an 80° sector with 0.5° azimuthal spacing and 250-m radial resolution (“super resolution”), with 12 elevation angles. Thus, full volume scans over a limited area are collected every 71–73 s.

The scanning strategy was employed on a cyclic nontornadic supercell storm in western Oklahoma on 1 June 2008. The evolution of the polarimetric signatures in the supercell is analyzed. The repetitive pattern of evolution of these polarimetric features is found to be directly tied to the cyclic occlusion process of the low-level mesocyclone. The cycle for each of the polarimetric signatures is presented and described in detail, complete with a microphysical interpretation. In doing so, for the first time the bulk microphysical properties of the storm on small time scales (inferred from polarimetric data) are analyzed. The documented evolution of the polarimetric signatures could be used operationally to aid in the detection and determination of various stages of the low-level mesocyclone occlusion.

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R. Jeffrey Trapp
,
David M. Schultz
,
Alexander V. Ryzhkov
, and
Ronald L. Holle

Abstract

A significant winter precipitation event occurred on 8–9 March 1994 in Oklahoma. Snow accumulations greater than 30 cm (12 in.) were measured within a narrow corridor in northern Oklahoma. On the synoptic scale and mesoscale, a correspondence between large snow accumulations and 600-hPa frontogenesis was revealed; the precipitation was formed above the cold frontal surface, owing to midtropospheric ascent associated with the cross-frontal circulation in a region of elevated conditional instability. The location of such a narrow corridor of large accumulations was not, however, disclosed by any patterns in the radar reflectivity data. Indeed, during this event, an elongated maximum of snow accumulation was not associated with a persistent “band” of enhanced reflectivity and vice versa.

Dual-polarization and dual-Doppler radar data allowed for a novel analysis of winter precipitation processes and structures, within the context of the larger-scale diagnosis. It was possible to identify, in order of distance southward toward the surface cold front: (i) an elevated convective element, which was classified as an elevated thunderstorm and may have functioned as an ice crystal “generator” cell, embedded within a broad region of generally stratiform precipitation; (ii) a reflectivity band and associated rain–snow transition zone, the evolution and structure of which apparently were coupled to the effects of melting precipitation and strong vertical wind shear; and (iii) a mixed-phase precipitation-generating, prolific lightning-producing, nonelevated thunderstorm cell that was sustained in the postfrontal air in part by virtue of its rotational dynamics.

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