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  • Author or Editor: Sergey Y. Matrosov x
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Sergey Y. Matrosov

Abstract

Polarimetric X-band radar measurements of differential reflectivity Z DR in stratiform rainfall were used for retrieving mean mass-weighted raindrop diameters Dm and estimating their spatial variability δDm at different scales. The Z DR data were calibrated and corrected for differential attenuation. The results revealed greater variability in Dm for larger spatial scales. Mean values of δDm were respectively around 0.32–0.34, 0.28–0.30, and 0.24–0.26 mm at scales of 20, 10, and 4.5 km, which are representative of footprints of various spaceborne sensors. For a given spatial scale, δDm decreases when the mean value of Dm increases. At the 20-km scale the decreasing trend exhibits a factor-of-1.7 decrease of δDm when the average Dm changes from 1 to 2 mm. Estimation data suggest that this trend diminishes as the spatial scale decreases. Measurement noise and other uncertainties preclude accurate estimations of Dm variability at smaller spatial scales because for many data points estimated variability values are equal to or less than the expected retrieval errors. Even though they are important for retrievals of absolute values of Dm , the details of the drop shape–size relation did not significantly affect estimates of size spatial variability. The polarization cross coupling in simultaneous transmission–simultaneous receiving measurement mode presents another limiting factor for accurate estimations of Dm . This factor, however, was not too severe in estimations of the size variability. There are indications that tuning the differential attenuation correction scheme might balance off some possible cross-coupling Z DR bias if differential phase accumulation is less than approximately 40°.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov

Abstract

The spaceborne W-band (94 GHz) radar on board the CloudSat polar-orbiting satellite offers new opportunities for retrieving parameters of precipitating cloud systems. CloudSat measurements can resolve the vertical cross sections of such systems. The radar brightband features, which are commonly present when observing stratiform precipitating systems, allow the vertical separation of the ice, mixed, and liquid precipitating hydrometeor layers. In this study, the CloudSat data are used to simultaneously retrieve ice water path (IWP) values for ice layers of precipitating systems using absolute radar reflectivity measurements and mean rainfall rates Rm in the liquid hydrometeor layers using the attenuation-based reflectivity gradient method. The retrievals were performed for precipitating events observed in the vicinity of the Southern Great Plains (SGP) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) Climate Research Facility. The retrieval results indicated that IWP values in stratiform precipitating systems vary from a few hundreds up to about 10 thousands of grams per meter squared, and the mean rain rates were in a general range between 0.5 and about 12 mm h−1. On average, mean rainfall increases with an increase in ice mass observed above the melting layer; the corresponding mean correlation coefficient is about 0.35, although events with higher correlation as well as those with no appreciable correlation were observed. Horizontal advection, wind shear, and vertical air motions might be some of the reasons for decorrelation between IWP and Rm retrieved for the same vertical atmospheric column. A mean statistical relation between IWP and Rm derived from CloudSat retrievals is in good agreement with the data obtained from multiwavelength ground-based cloud radar measurements at the SGP site.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov

Abstract

Experimental retrievals of rain rates using the CloudSat spaceborne 94-GHz radar reflectivity gradient method over land were evaluated by comparing them with standard estimates from ground-based operational S-band radar measurements, which are widely used for quantitative precipitation estimations. The comparisons were performed for predominantly stratiform precipitation events that occurred in the vicinity of the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) KGWX and KSHV radars during the CloudSat overpasses in the vicinity of these ground radar sites. The standard reflectivity-based WSR-88D rain-rate retrievals used in operational practice were utilized as a reference for the CloudSat retrieval evaluation. Spaceborne and ground-based radar rain-rate estimates that were closely collocated in space and time were generally well correlated. The correlation coefficients were approximately 0.65 on average, and the mean relative biases were usually within ±35% for the whole dataset and for individual events with typical rain rates exceeding ~2 mm h−1. For events with lighter rainfall, higher biases and lower correlations were often present. The normalized mean absolute differences between satellite- and ground-based radar retrievals were on average ~60%, with an increasing trend for lighter rainfall. Such mean differences are comparable to combined retrieval errors from both ground-based and satellite radar remote sensing approaches. Evaluation of potential effects of partial beam blockage on the ground-based radar measurements was performed, and the influence of the choice of relation between WSR-88D reflectivity and rain rate that was utilized in the ground-based rain-rate retrievals was assessed.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov

Abstract

A method to retrieve total vertical amounts of cloud liquid and ice in stratiform precipitating systems is described. The retrievals use measurements from the vertically pointing Ka- and W-band cloud radars operated by the U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program and auxiliary measurements from a scanning National Weather Service radar and a ground-based disdrometer. Separation between the cloud liquid and rain is based on estimations of the total attenuation of millimeter-wavelength radar signals in the liquid hydrometeor layer. Disdrometer measurements are used for the retrieval constraints. Because the liquid phase hydrometeor retrievals use only differential measurements, they are immune to the absolute radar calibration uncertainties. Estimates of the ice cloud phase are performed using empirical relations between absolute radar reflectivity and ice water content. Data from the nearby scanning weather-service radar, which operates at a lower frequency, are used to correct cloud radar measurements observed above the freezing level for attenuation caused by the layers of liquid and melting hydrometeors and also by wet radomes of cloud radars. Polarimetric and vertical Doppler measurements from ARM cloud radars provide a distinct separation between regions of liquid and ice phases, and therefore the corresponding retrievals are performed in each region separately. The applicability of the suggested method is illustrated for a stratiform precipitation event observed at the ARM Southern Great Plains facility. Expected uncertainties for retrievals of cloud liquid water path are estimated at about 200–250 g m−2 for typical rainfall rates observed in stratiform systems (∼3–4 mm h−1). These uncertainties increase as rainfall rate increases. The ice water path retrieval uncertainties can be as high as a factor of 2.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov

Abstract

An approach is described to retrieve the total amount of ice in a vertical atmospheric column in precipitating clouds observed by the operational Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) systems. This amount expressed as ice water path (IWP) is retrieved using measurements obtained during standard WSR-88D scanning procedures performed when observing precipitation. WSR-88D-based IWP estimates are evaluated using dedicated cloud microphysical retrievals available from the CloudSat and auxiliary spaceborne measurements. The evaluation is performed using measurements obtained in extensive predominantly stratiform precipitation systems containing both ice hydrometeors aloft and rain near the ground. The analysis is based on retrievals of IWP from satellite and the ground-based KWGX and KSHV WSR-88D that are closely collocated in time and space. The comparison results indicate a relatively high correlation between satellite and WSR-88D IWP retrievals, with corresponding correlation coefficients of around 0.7. The mean relative differences between spaceborne and ground-based estimates are around 50%–60%, which is on the order of IWP retrieval uncertainties and is comparable to the differences among various operational CloudSat IWP products. The analysis performed in this study suggests that the quantitative information on ice content of precipitation systems can generally be obtained from operational WSR-88D measurements, when they perform routine scans to observe precipitation. The limitations of WSR-88D IWP estimates due to radar beam tilt restrictions and the overshooting effects due to Earth’s sphericity are discussed.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov

Abstract

A dual-wavelength radar method to estimate snowfall rate has been developed. The method suggests taking simultaneous and collocated reflectivity measurements at two radar wavelengths. Snowfall backscattering at one of these wavelengths should be in the Rayleigh regime or sufficiently close to this regime, while backscattering at the other wavelength should be substantially outside this regime for typical snowflake sizes. Combinations of Ka-band (for a shorter wavelength) and X-, C-, or S-band (for a longer wavelength) radar measurements satisfy this requirement. The logarithmic difference between reflectivities at these two wavelengths provides an independent estimate of snowflake median size D m , which exhibits a very low sensitivity to snowflake density and details of the size distribution. The estimates of D m and radar reflectivities Z e at the longer wavelength are then used to obtain snowfall rate R from the Z e R–D m relationships, which have a snowflake effective density ρ e as a “tuning” parameter. The independent information about snowflake characteristic size accounts for much of the improvement of the dual-wavelength method over traditional, single-parameter Z e R relationships.

The paper also presents experimental data collected during January–March 1996, near Boulder, Colorado, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ka- and X-band radars. The radar data were supplemented by simultaneous ground measurements of snow accumulation. Comparisons of the ground and dual-wavelength radar measurements indicate that a tuning value ρ e of about 0.03–0.04 g cm−3 provides a good match with surface-observed snow accumulations. Differences in dual-wavelength radar estimates of accumulation for ρ e between 0.03 and 0.04 g cm−3 are usually within 25%, while existing X-band, single-parameter Z e R relationships yield accumulations that differ by as much as a factor of 4.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov

Abstract

The remote sensing method for retrieving vertical profiles of microphysical parameters in ice clouds from ground-based measurements taken by the Doppler radar and IR radiometer was applied to several cloud cases observed during different field experiments including FIRE-II, ASTEX, and the Arizona Program. The measurements were performed with the NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory instrumentation. The observed ice clouds were mostly cirrus clouds located in the upper troposphere above 5.6 km. Their geometrical thicknesses varied from a few hundred meters to 3 km. Characteristic cloud particle sizes expressed in median mass diameters of equal-volume spheres varied from about 25 μm to more than 400 μm. Typically, characteristic particle sizes were increasing toward the cloud base, with the exception of the lowest range gates where particles were quickly sublimating. Highest particle concentrations were usually observed near the cloud tops. The vertical variability of particle sizes inside an individual cloud could reach one order of magnitude. The standard deviation of the mean profile for a typical cloud is usually factor of 2 or 3 smaller than mean values of particle characteristic size. Typical values of retrieved cloud ice water content varied from 1 to 100 mg m−3; however, individual variations were as high as four orders of magnitude. There was no consistent pattern in the vertical distribution of ice water content except for the rapid decrease in the vicinity of the cloud base. The relationships between retrieved cloud parameters and measured radar reflectivities were considered. The uncertainty of estimating cloud parameters from the power-law regressions is discussed. The parameters of these regressions varied from cloud to cloud and were comparable to the parameters in corresponding regressions obtained from direct particle sampling in other experiments. Relationships between cloud microphysical parameters and reflectivity can vary even for the same observational case. The variability diminishes if stronger reflectivities are considered. A procedure of “tuning” cloud microphysics–reflectivity regressions for individual profiles is suggested. Such a procedure can simplify the radar–radiometer method and make it applicable for a broader range of clouds.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov
and
Andrew J. Heymsfield

Abstract

Empirical power-law relations between the equivalent radar reflectivity factor Z e and the slope parameter of the gamma function Λ (i.e., Λ = c ; used to describe ice hydrometeor size distributions) are derived. The Λ parameter can also be considered as a size parameter since it is proportional to the inverse of the hydrometeor characteristic size, which is an important geophysical parameter describing the entire distribution. Two datasets from two-dimensional microphysical probes, collected during aircraft flights in subtropical and midlatitude regions, were used to obtain Λ by fitting measured size distributions. Reflectivity for different radar frequencies was calculated from microphysical probe data by using nonspherical-particle models. The derived relations have exponent d values that are approximately from −0.35 to −0.40, and the prefactors c are approximately between 30 and 55 (Λ: cm−1; Z e : mm6 m−3). There is a tendency for d and c to decrease when radar frequency increases from Ku band (~14 GHz) to W band (~94 GHz). Correlation coefficients between Z e and Λ can be very high (~0.8), especially for lower frequencies. Such correlations are similar to those for empirical relations between reflectivity and ice water content (IWC), which are used in many modeling and remote sensing applications. Close correspondences of reflectivity to both Λ and IWC are due to a relatively high correlation between these two microphysical parameters. Expected uncertainties in estimating Λ from reflectivity could be as high as a factor of 2, although estimates at lower radar frequencies are more robust. Stratifying retrievals by temperature could result in relatively modest improvement of Λ estimates.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov
,
Robert Cifelli
, and
David Gochis

Abstract

The utility of X-band polarimetric radar to provide rainfall estimations with high spatial and temporal resolution in heavy convective precipitation in the presence of hail is explored. A case study involving observations of strong convective cells with a transportable polarimetric X-band radar near Boulder, Colorado, is presented. These cells produced rain–hail mixtures with a significant liquid fraction, causing local flash floods and debris flow in an environmentally sensitive burn area that had been previously affected by wildfire. It is demonstrated that the specific differential phase shift (K DP)–based rainfall estimator provided liquid accumulations that were in relatively good agreement with a network of high-density rain gauges and experimental disdrometers. This estimator was also able to capture the significant variability of accumulated rainfall in a relatively small area of interest, and the corresponding results were not significantly affected by hail. Hail presence, however, was a likely reason for significant overestimation of rainfall retrievals for X-band radar approaches that are based on radar-reflectivity Ze measurements that have been corrected for attenuation in rain. Even greater overestimations were observed with the S-band radar of the weather-service network. In part because of larger range distances, these radar data could not correctly reproduce the spatial variability of rainfall in the burn area.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov
,
Maximilian Maahn
, and
Gijs de Boer

Abstract

The influence of ice hydrometeor shape on the dual-wavelength ratio (DWR) of radar reflectivities at millimeter-wavelength frequencies is studied theoretically and on the basis of observations. Data from dual-frequency (Ka–W bands) radar show that, for vertically pointing measurements, DWR increasing trends with reflectivity Z e are very pronounced when Ka-band Z e is greater than about 0 dBZ and that DWR and Z e values are usually well correlated. This correlation is explained by strong relations between hydrometeor characteristic size and both of these radar variables. The observed DWR variability for a given level of reflectivity is as large as 8 dB, which is in part due to changes in mean hydrometeor shape as expressed in terms of the particle aspect ratio. Hydrometeors with a higher degree of nonsphericity exhibit lower DWR values when compared with quasi-spherical particles because of near-zenith reflectivity enhancements for particles outside the Rayleigh-scattering regime. When particle mass–size relations do not change significantly (e.g., for low-rime conditions), DWR can be used to differentiate between quasi-spherical and highly nonspherical hydrometeors because (for a given reflectivity value) DWR tends to increase as particles become more spherical. Another approach for differentiating among different degrees of nonsphericity for larger scatterers is based on analyzing DWR changes as a function of radar elevation angle. These changes are more pronounced for highly nonspherical particles and can exceed 10 dB. Measurements of snowfall spatiotemporally collocated with spaceborne CloudSat W-band radar and ground-based S-band operational weather radars also indicate that DWR values are generally smaller for ice hydrometeors with higher degrees of nonsphericity, which, for the same level of S-band reflectivity, exhibit greater differential reflectivity values.

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