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  • Author or Editor: William S. Olson x
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Mircea Grecu
Lin Tian
Gerald M. Heymsfield
Ali Tokay
William S. Olson
Andrew J. Heymsfield
, and
Aaron Bansemer


In this study, a nonparametric method to estimate precipitating ice from multiple-frequency radar observations is investigated. The method does not require any assumptions regarding the distribution of ice particle sizes and relies on an efficient search procedure to incorporate information from observed particle size distributions (PSDs) in the estimation process. Similar to other approaches rooted in optimal-estimation theory, the nonparametric method is robust in the presence of noise in observations and uncertainties in the forward models. Over 200 000 PSDs derived from in situ observations collected during the Olympic Mountains Experiment (OLYMPEX) and Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment (IPHEX) field campaigns are used in the development and evaluation of the nonparametric estimation method. These PSDs are used to create a database of ice-related variables and associated computed radar reflectivity factors at the Ku, Ka, and W bands. The computed reflectivity factors are used to derive precipitating ice estimates and investigate the associated errors and uncertainties. The method is applied to triple-frequency radar observations collected during OLYMPEX and IPHEX. Direct comparisons of estimated ice variables with estimates from in situ instruments show results consistent with the error analysis. Global application of the method requires an extension of the supporting PSD database, which can be achieved through the processing of information from additional past and future field campaigns.

Open access