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David Atlas
,
Sergey Y. Matrosov
,
Andrew J. Heymsfield
,
Ming-Dah Chou
, and
David B. Wolff
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Sergey Y. Matrosov
,
Kurt A. Clark
,
Brooks E. Martner
, and
Ali Tokay

Abstract

A combined polarimetric estimator for rainfall rate (R) retrievals from polarimetric radar measurements at X band is proposed. This estimator uses the horizontal polarization radar reflectivity Z e , differential reflectivity Z DR, and specific differential phase shift K DP, and it intrinsically accounts for changes in how drop oblateness increases with size. Because this estimator uses power measurements (i.e., Z e and Z DR), a procedure for correcting these measurements for effects of partial attenuation and differential attenuation using the differential phase measurement is suggested. An altitude correction for estimates of rainfall rates is also suggested. The proposed combined polarimetric estimator that uses K DP, Z DR, and Z e , an estimator that uses K DP alone for equilibrium drop shapes, and different Z e R relations were applied to the 15 rain events observed with the NOAA X-band transportable polarimetric radar during the eight-week field campaign at the NASA Wallops Island facility in Virginia. The observed rains ranged from very light stratiform events to very heavy convective ones with cells producing rainfall rates in excess of 100 mm h−1. The three different ground validation sites were equipped with high-resolution (0.01 in.) tipping-bucket rain gauges. One of these sites also was equipped with disdrometers. In terms of the relative standard deviation, the combined polarimetric estimator provided the best overall agreement with gauge data (22%), closely followed by a case-tuned Z e R relation (23%) that was determined for each observational case from drop size distributions (DSD) measured in situ by a disdrometer and was available only a posteriori. The use of the K DP-only estimator and a mean Z e R relation resulted in 30% and 32% relative standard deviations, correspondingly. The combined polarimetric estimator, the K DP-only estimator, and the case-tuned Z e R relation estimator provided about a 6%–9% negative bias in comparison with the gauge data; the mean Z e R relation estimator provided a larger negative bias (18%).

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Sergey Y. Matrosov
,
Roger F. Reinking
,
Robert A. Kropfli
,
Brooks E. Martner
, and
B. W. Bartram

Abstract

An approach is suggested to relate measurements of radar depolarization ratios and aspect ratios of predominant hydrometeors in nonprecipitating and weakly precipitating layers of winter clouds. The trends of elevation angle dependencies of depolarization ratios are first used to distinguish between columnar-type and plate-type particles. For the established particle type, values of depolarization ratios observed at certain elevation angles, for which the influence of particle orientation is minimal, are then used to estimate aspect ratios when information on particle effective bulk density is assumed or inferred from other measurements. The use of different polarizations, including circular, slant-45° linear, and two elliptical polarizations, is discussed. These two elliptical polarizations are quasi-circular and quasi-linear slant-45° linear, and both are currently achievable with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Environmental Technology Laboratory’s Ka-band radar. In comparison with the true circular and slant-45° linear polarizations, the discussed elliptical polarizations provide a stronger signal in the “weak” radar receiver channel; however, it is at the expense of diminished dynamic range of depolarization ratio variations. For depolarization measurements at the radar elevation angles that do not show much sensitivity to particle orientations, the available quasi-circular polarization provides a better depolarization contrast between nonspherical and spherical particles than does the available quasi-linear slant-45°polarization. The use of the proposed approach is illustrated with the experimental data collected during a recent field experiment. It is shown that it allows successful differentiation among pristine planar crystals, rimed planar crystals, long columns, blocky columns, and graupel. When a reasonable assumption about particle bulk density is made, quantitative estimates of particle aspect ratios from radar depolarization data are in good agreement with in situ observations. Uncertainties of particle aspect ratios estimated from depolarization measurements due to 0.1 g cm−3 variations in the assumed bulk density are about 0.1.

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Taneil Uttal
,
Sergey Y. Matrosov
,
Jack B. Snider
, and
Robert A. Kropfli

Abstract

A vertically pointing 3.2-cm radar is used to observe altostratus and cirrus clouds as they pass overhead. Radar reflectivities are used in combination with an empirical Z i -IWC (ice water content) relationship developed by Sassen (1987) to parameterize IWC, which is then integrated to obtain estimates of ice water path (IWP). The observed dataset is segregated into all-ice and mixed-phase periods using measurements of integrated liquid water paths (LWP) detected by a collocated, dual-channel microwave radiometer. The IWP values for the all ice periods are compared to measurements of infrared (IR) downward fluxes measured by a collocated narrowband (9.95 − 11.43 um) IR radiometer, which results in scattergrams representing the observed dependence of [R fluxes on IWP. A two-strum model is used to calculate the infrared fluxes expected from ice clouds with boundary conditions specified by the actual clouds, and similar curves relating IWP and infrared fluxes are obtained. The model and observational results suggest that IWP is one of the primary controls on infrared thermal fluxes for ice clouds.

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David Atlas
,
Sergey Y. Matrosov
,
Andrew J. Heymsfield
,
Ming-Dah Chou
, and
David B. Wolff

Abstract

The authors derive relations of the equivalent radar reflectivity Ze and extinction coefficient α of ice clouds and confirm the theory by in situ aircraft observations during the First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project Regional Experiment. Equivalent radar reflectivity Ze is a function of ice water content W and a moment of the size distribution such as the median volume diameter D 0. Stratification of the data by D 0 provides a set of WZe relations from which one may deduce the dependence of particle density on size. This relation is close to that of Brown and Francis and provides confidence in the methodology of estimating particle size and mass. The authors find that there is no universal WZe relation, due both to large scatter and systematic shifts in particle size from day to day and cloud to cloud. These variations manifest the normal changes in ice crystal growth. The result is that, with the exception of temperatures less than −40°C, temperature cannot be used to reliably parameterize the particle size as has been previously suggested. To do so is to risk large possible systematic errors in retrievals. Even if one could measure monthly averages of ice water content, this is inadequate to estimate the monthly radiative effect because of the nonlinearity between the two. The authors show that a sizable fraction of radiatively significant clouds would be missed at a radar threshold of −30 dBZ, the value proposed for a spaceborne cloud-profiling radar.

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Alexander Myagkov
,
Patric Seifert
,
Ulla Wandinger
,
Matthias Bauer-Pfundstein
, and
Sergey Y. Matrosov

Abstract

This paper presents an experimental analysis of the antenna system effects on polarimetric measurements conducted with cloud radars operating in the linear depolarization ratio (LDR) mode. Amplitude and phase of the copolar and cross-polar antenna patterns are presented and utilized. The patterns of two antennas of different quality were measured at the Hungriger Wolf airport near Hohenlockstedt, Germany, during the period from 28 January to 1 February 2014. For the measurements a test transmitter mounted on a tower and the scanning 35-GHz (Ka band) cloud radar MIRA-35, manufactured by METEK GmbH and operated in the receiving mode, were used. The integrated cross-polarization ratios (ICPR) are calculated for both antennas and compared with those measured in light rain. Correction algorithms for observed LDR and the co-cross-channel correlation coefficient ρ are presented. These algorithms are aimed at removing/mitigating polarization cross-coupling effects that depend on the quality of radar hardware. Thus, corrected LDR and ρ are primarily influenced by scatterer properties. The corrections are based on the decomposition of the coherency matrix of the received signals into fully polarized and nonpolarized components. The correction brings LDR values and the co-cross-channel correlation coefficients from two radars with different antenna systems to a close agreement, thus effectively removing hardware-dependent biases. Uncertainties of the correction are estimated as 3 dB for LDR in the range from −30 to −10 dB. In clouds, the correction of the co-cross-channel correlation coefficient ρ results in near-zero values for both vertically pointed radars.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov
,
Roger F. Reinking
,
Robert A. Kropfli
, and
Bruce W. Bartram

Abstract

An approach to distinguish between various types of ice hydrometeors and to estimate their shapes using radar polarization measurements is discussed. It is shown that elevation angle dependencies of radar depolarization ratios can be used to distinguish between planar crystals, columnar crystals, and aggregates in reasonably homogeneous stratiform clouds. Absolute values of these ratios depend on the reflectivity-weighted mean particle aspect ratio in the polarization plane. Circular depolarization ratios depend on this ratio, and linear depolarization ratios depend on this ratio and particle orientation in the polarization plane. The use of nearly circular elliptical polarization provides a means of measuring depolarization for low reflectivity scatterers when the circular polarization fails due to low signal level in one of the receiving channels. Modeling of radar backscattering was applied to the elliptical depolarization ratios as measured by the Ka-band radar developed at the NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory. Experimental data taken during the Winter Icing and Storms Instrument Test experiment in 1993 generally confirmed the calculations and demonstrated the applicability of the approach.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov
,
Robert Cifelli
,
Paul J. Neiman
, and
Allen B. White

Abstract

S-band profiling (S-PROF) radar measurements from different southeastern U.S. Hydrometeorology Testbed sites indicated a frequent occurrence of rain that did not exhibit radar bright band (BB) and was observed outside the periods of deep-convective precipitation. This common nonbrightband (NBB) rain contributes ~15%–20% of total accumulation and is not considered as a separate rain type by current precipitation-segregation operational radar-based schemes, which separate rain into stratiform, convective, and, sometimes, tropical types. Collocated with S-PROF, disdrometer measurements showed that drop size distributions (DSDs) of NBB rain have much larger relative fractions of smaller drops when compared with those of BB and convective rains. Data from a year of combined DSD and rain-type observations were used to derive S-band-radar estimators of rain rate R, including those based on traditional reflectivity Z e and ones that also use differential reflectivity Z DR and specific differential phase K DP. Differences among same-type estimators for mostly stratiform BB and deep-convective rain were relatively minor, but estimators derived for the common NBB rain type were distinct. Underestimations in NBB rain-rate retrievals derived using other rain-type estimators (e.g., those for BB or convective rain or default operational radar estimators) for the same values of radar variables can be on average about 40%, although the differential phase-based estimators are somewhat less susceptible to DSD details. No significant differences among the estimators for the same rain type derived using DSDs from different observational sites were present despite significant separation and differing terrain. Identifying areas of common NBB rain could be possible from Z e and Z DR measurements.

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Matthew D. Shupe
,
Pavlos Kollias
,
Sergey Y. Matrosov
, and
Timothy L. Schneider

Abstract

In certain circumstances, millimeter-wavelength Doppler radar velocity spectra can be used to estimate the microphysical composition of both phases of mixed-phase clouds. This distinction is possible when the cloud properties are such that they produce a bimodal Doppler velocity spectrum. Under these conditions, the Doppler spectrum moments of the distinct liquid and ice spectral modes may be computed independently and used to quantitatively derive properties of the liquid droplet and ice particle size distributions. Additionally, the cloud liquid spectral mode, which is a tracer for clear-air motions, can be used to estimate the vertical air motion and to correct estimates of ice particle fall speeds.

A mixed-phase cloud case study from the NASA Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cloud Layers- Florida Area Cirrus Experiment (CRYSTAL-FACE) is used to illustrate this new retrieval approach. The case of interest occurred on 29 July 2002 when a supercooled liquid cloud layer based at 5 km AGL and precipitating ice crystals advected over a ground measurement site. Ground-based measurements from both 35- and 94-GHz radars revealed clear bimodal Doppler velocity spectra within this cloud layer. Profiles of radar reflectivity were computed independently from the liquid and ice spectral modes of the velocity spectra. Empirical reflectivity- based relationships were then used to derive profiles of both liquid and ice microphysical parameters, such as water content and particle size. Although the ice crystals extended down to a height of 4 km, the radar measurements were able to distinguish the base of the cloud liquid at 5 km, in good agreement with cloud-base measurements from a collocated micropulse lidar. Furthermore, radar-derived cloud liquid water paths were in good agreement with liquid water paths derived from a collocated microwave radiometer.

Results presented here demonstrate the ability of the radar to both identify and quantify the presence of both phases in some mixed-phase clouds. They also demonstrate that, in terms of radar reflectivity, the ice component of mixed-phase clouds typically dominates the radar signal, while in terms of mean Doppler velocity, the liquid component can make a significant contribution. The high temporal resolution, 94-GHz Doppler radar observations were able to reveal a periodic cloud-top updraft that, combined with horizontal wind speeds, suggests a horizontal scale for the in-cloud circulations.

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Roger F. Reinking
,
Sergey Y. Matrosov
,
Robert A. Kropfli
, and
Bruce W. Bartram

Abstract

A remote sensing capability is needed to detect clouds of supercooled, drizzle-sized droplets, which are a major aircraft icing hazard. Discrimination among clouds of differing ice particle types is also important because both the presence and type of ice influence the survival of liquid in a cloud and the chances for occurrence of these large, most hazardous droplets. This work shows how millimeter-wavelength dual-polarization radar can be used to identify these differing hydrometeors. It also shows that by measuring the depolarization ratio (DR), the estimation of the hydrometeor type can be accomplished deterministically for drizzle droplets; ice particles of regular shapes; and to a considerable extent, the more irregular ice particles, and that discrimination is strongly influenced by the polarization state of the transmitted microwave radiation. Thus, appropriate selection of the polarization state is emphasized.

The selection of an optimal polarization state involves trade-offs in competing factors such as the functional dynamic range of DR, sensitivity to low-reflectivity clouds, and insensitivity to oscillations in the settling orientations of ice crystals. A 45° slant, quasi-linear polarization state, one in which only slight ellipticity is introduced, was found to offer a very good compromise, providing considerable advantages over standard horizontal and substantially elliptical polarizations. This was determined by theoretical scattering calculations that were verified experimentally in field measurements conducted during the Mount Washington Icing Sensors Project (MWISP). A selectable-dual-polarization Ka-band (8.66-mm wavelength) radar was used. A wide variety of hydrometeor types was sampled. Clear differentiation among planar crystals, columnar crystals, and drizzle droplets was achieved. Also, differentiation among crystals of fundamentally different shapes (aspect ratios) within each of the planar and columnar families was found possible. These distinctions matched calculations of DR, usually to within 1 or 2 dB. The results from MWISP and from previous experiments with other polarizations have demonstrated that the agreement between theory and measurements by this method is repeatable. Additionally, although less rigorously predicted by theory, the field measurements demonstrated substantial differentiation among the more irregular and more spherical ice particles, including aggregates, elongated aggregates, heavily rimed dendrites, and graupel. Measurable separation between these various irregular ice particle types and drizzle droplets was also verified.

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