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  • Author or Editor: Zhi Li x
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Zhi Li
Yixin Wen
Liang Liao
David Wolff
Robert Meneghini
, and
Terry Schuur


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have a long and successful history of weather radar research. The NOAA ground-based radars—WSR-88D network—provide nationwide precipitation observations and estimates with advanced polarimetric capability. As a counterpart, the NASA–JAXA spaceborne radar—the Global Precipitation Measurement Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (GPM DPR)—has global coverage and higher vertical resolution than ground-based radars. While significant advances from both NOAA’s WSR-88D network and NASA–JAXA’s spaceborne radar DPR have been made, no systematic comparisons between the WSR-88D network and the DPR have been done. This study for the first time generates nationwide comprehensive comparisons at 136 WSR-88D radar sites from 2014 to 2020. Systematic differences in reflectivity are found, with ground radar reflectivity on average 2.4 dB smaller than that of the DPR (DPR version 6). This research found the discrepancies between WSR-88D and DPR arise from different calibration standards, signal attenuation correction, and differences in the ground and spaceborne scattering volumes. The recently updated DPR version 7 product improves rain detection and attenuation corrections, effectively reducing the overall average WSR-88D and DPR reflectivity differences to 1.0 dB. The goal of this study is to examine the systematic differences of radar reflectivity between the NOAA WSR-88D network and the NASA–JAXA DPR and to draw attention to radar-application users in recognizing their differences. Further investigation into understanding and alleviating the systematic bias between the two platforms is needed.

Open access