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A. J. Illingworth and I. J. Caylor

Abstract

The differential reflectivity (Z DR) measures the mean shape of hydrometeors and provides an estimate of the mean size of raindrops Observations of Z DR for rain may be combined with the conventional radar reflectivity factor (Z) and fitted to any two-parameter raindrop size distribution and this information used to derive more accurate rainfall rates. In such work the precise shape of raindrops is a critical parameter. Recently available data suggest that large raindrops are more oblate than previously believed. These new shapes support the idea that Z DR values above 3.5 dB can be attributed to rain. Average values of Z DR as a function of Z obtained in heavy rain by the Chilbolton radar agree very closely with those predicted using the new shapes. Statistics are also presented of the natural variability of raindrop spectra in heavy rain. Analytic expressions are proposed for computing rainfall rate from Z and Z DR.

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A. R. Jameson and I. J. Caylor

Abstract

As microwaves propagate through rain, the rate of phase change with increasing distance is different depending upon whether the transmissions are polarized horizontally or vertically. This rate of change is the so-called specific propagation differential phase shift ΦDP. This paper demonstrates that at several frequencies and over a wide domain the ratio of ΦDP to the rainwater content W is nearly linearly related to D m, the mass-weighted mean drop size. An investigation of errors indicates that this new approach is likely to yield more accurate estimates of W than the other classical reflectivity factor Z, attenuation, or polarization techniques. The most accurate estimates of W are most likely at the highest frequency considered, 13.80 GHz.

In lieu of such high-frequency measurements, these somewhat esoteric results are made more concrete through an analysis of 3-GHz radar measurements collected during the Convection and Precipitation Experiment in a tropical rainstorm in Florida. Among the principle advantages of using ΦDP to measure rain are that an absolute calibration of the radar is no longer required and the estimates are decoupled from measurements of the radar reflectivity factor. Consequently, temporal and spatial structures of rain estimates do not simply mimic those of the reflectivity factor, as happens for classical estimation techniques using Z.

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G. M. Heymsfield, J. B. Halverson, and I. J. Caylor

Abstract

An extensive wintertime squall line on 13 January 1995 occurring along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coastline is examined using airborne radar observations combined with conventional data analysis. Flight tracks with the ER-2 Doppler radar (EDOP) mounted on the high-altitude (20 km) ER-2 aircraft provided a unique view of the vertical structure of this line. In this paper, the authors document the squall line structure, and compare and contrast this structure with other published cases.

The squall line had several prominent features that differ from previous studies: 1) the stratiform region was wide in comparison to more typical systems that are 50–100 km wide; 2) the trailing stratiform region consisted of two to three separate embedded trailing bands rather than one continuous band; 3) vertical motions in the trailing stratiform region were nearly twice as strong as previously reported values, with mean values approaching 1 m s−1 between 7- and 9-km altitude, and larger values (1.5 m s−1) in the embedded bands; 4) reflectivities were large with mean stratiform values of about 38 dBZ, and maximum convective values of about 55 dBZ; 5) the squall line rear inflow descended to the surface well behind the leading edge (∼200 km); 6) the convective and squall line inflow region exhibited unique microphysics with small graupel or hail falling out of the tilted squall line updraft, and a wavy, elevated melting region associated with the inflow; and 7) the squall-scale transverse circulation was directly coupled with a jet streak thermally direct circulation, and the ascending branch of this direct circulation may have enhanced production of widespread stratiform rainfall. A conceptual model is presented highlighting the features of this squall line and the coupling of the squall line to the larger-scale flow.

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V. Chandrasekar, G. R. Gray, and I. J. Caylor

Abstract

The design of an auxiliary signal processor for a multiparameter radar is described with emphasis on low cost, quick development, and minimum disruption of radar operations. The processor is based around a low-cost digital signal processor card and personal computer controller. With the use of such a concept, an auxiliary processor was implemented for the NCAR CP-2 radar during a 1991 summer field campaign and allowed measurement of additional polarimetric parameters, namely, the differential phase and the copolar cross correlation. Sample data are presented from both the auxiliary and existing radar signal processors.

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I. J. Caylor, G. M. Heymsfield, R. Meneghini, and L. S. Miller

Abstract

The return from the ocean surface has a number of uses for airborne meteorological radar. The normalized surface cross section has been used for radar system calibration, estimation of surface winds, and in algorithms for estimating the path-integrated attenuation in rain. However, meteorological radars are normally optimized for observation of distributed targets that fill the resolution volume, and so a point target such as the surface can be poorly sampled, particularly at near-nadir look angles. Sampling the nadir surface return at an insufficient rate results in a negative bias of the estimated cross section. This error is found to be as large as 4 dB using observations from a high-altitude airborne radar. An algorithm for mitigating the error is developed that is based upon the shape of the surface echo and uses the returned signal at the three range gates nearest the peak surface echo.

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V. N. Bringi, K. Knupp, A. Detwiler, L. Liu, I. J. Caylor, and R. A. Black

Abstract

The relationships among kinematic, microphysical, and electric field properties within a multicell Florida thunderstorm are investigated using observations from three Doppler radars (one with multiple wavelength and polarization diversity capabilities), four instrumented penetrating aircraft, a surface-based electric field mill network, and other observation facilities. The storm was convectively active for about 1 h and at least five primary cells developed within the storm during this time, one of which went through three consecutive development cycles. The updrafts in this storm were 2–4 km wide, exhibited bubble-like evolution, and had lifetimes of 10–20 min. The maximum updraft determined by the multiple Doppler analysis was about 20 m s−1. A differential reflectivity (Z DR) “column,” indicating regions containing millimeter-size raindrops, extending above the freezing level, was associated with each cell during its developing stages. This column reached altitudes exceeding 6 km (−8°C) in the stronger updrafts. As the Z DR columns reached maximum altitude, a “cap” of enhanced linear depolarization ratio (LDR) and enhanced 3-cm wavelength attenuation (A 3) formed, overlapping the upper regions of the Z DR column. These parameters indicate rapid development of mixed-phase conditions initiated by freezing of supercooled raindrops.

Lightning was observed only in the central and strongest convective cell. Electric fields exceeding 10 kV m−1 were noted during aircraft penetrations in this as well as several other cells that did not produce lightning. Fields exceeding 1 kV m−1 were noted by the instrumented aircraft at midcloud levels within a few minutes of development of mixed-phase conditions at these levels or aloft. The first intracloud lightning was detected by the surface field mill network within 5 min of development of mixed-phase conditions aloft in the first cycle of development in the central cell, and the first cloud-to-ground event was noted within 9 min of this development. Lightning continued through two additional cycles of updraft growth in this central region and diminished as the convection subsided after about 30 min. Aircraft-measured electric fields and lightning retrievals from the surface field meter network are consistent with a tendency for negative charge to accumulate above the 6.5 km(−12°C) level within regions of radar reflectivity maxima and for positive charge to accumulate in the anvil region well above 9 km (−30°C).

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G. M. Heymsfield, J. M. Shepherd, S. W. Bidwell, W. C. Boncyk, I. J. Caylor, S. Ameen, and W. S. Olson

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of a unique radar and radiometer dataset from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ER-2 high-altitude aircraft overlying Florida thunderstorms on 5 October 1993 during the Convection and Moisture Experiment (CAMEX). The observations represent the first ER-2 Doppler radar (EDOP) measurements and perhaps the most comprehensive multispectral precipitation measurements collected from a single aircraft. The objectives of this paper are to 1) examine the relation of the vertical radar reflectivity structure to the radiometric responses over a wide range of remote sensing frequencies, 2) examine the limitations of rain estimation schemes over land and ocean backgrounds based on the observed vertical reflectivity structures and brightness temperatures, and 3) assess the usefulness of scattering-based microwave frequencies (86 GHz and above) to provide information on vertical structure in the ice region. Analysis focused on two types of convection: a small group of thunderstorms over the Florida Straits and sea-breeze-initiated convection along the Florida Atlantic coast.

Various radiometric datasets are synthesized including visible, infrared (IR), and microwave (10–220 GHz). The rain cores observed over an ocean background by EDOP, compared quite well with elevated brightness temperatures from the Advanced Microwave Precipitation Radiometer (AMPR) 10.7-GHz channel. However, at higher microwave frequencies, which are ice-scattering based, storm evolution and vertical wind shear were found to be important in interpretation of the radiometric observations. As found in previous studies, the ice-scattering region was displaced significantly downshear of the convective and surface rainfall regions due to upper-level wind advection. The ice region above the rain layer was more opaque in the IR, although the 150- and 220-GHz brightness temperatures Tb approached the IR measurements and both corresponded well with the radar-detected ice regions. It was found that ice layer reflectivities and thicknesses were approximately 15 dBZ and a few kilometers, respectively, for detectable ice scattering to be present at these higher microwave frequencies.

The EDOP-derived rainfall rates and the simultaneous microwave Tb's were compared with single-frequency forward radiative transfer calculations using a family of vertical cloud and precipitation water profiles derived from a three-dimensional cloud model. Over water backgrounds, the lower-frequency emission-based theoretical curves agreed in a rough sense with the observed radar rainfall rate–Tb data points, in view of the uncertainties in the measurements and the scatter of the cloud model profiles.

The characteristics of the ice regions of the thunderstorms were examined using brightness temperature differences ΔTb such as Tb(37 GHz)–Tb(220 GHz). The Δ Tb's (150–220, 89–220, and 37–86 GHz) suggested a possible classification of the clouds and precipitation according to convective cores, elevated ice layers, and rain without significant ice above the melting layer. Although some qualitative classification of the ice is possible, the quantitative connection with ice path was difficult to obtain from the present observations.

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