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Scott E. Giangrande, Scott Collis, Adam K. Theisen, and Ali Tokay

Abstract

This study presents radar-based precipitation estimates collected during the 2-month U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM)–NASA Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E). Emphasis is on the usefulness of radar observations from the C-band and X-band scanning ARM precipitation radars (CSAPR and XSAPR, respectively) for rainfall estimation products to distances within 100 km of the Lamont, Oklahoma, ARM facility. The study utilizes a dense collection of collocated ARM, NASA Global Precipitation Measurement, and nearby surface Oklahoma Mesonet gauge records to evaluate radar-based hourly rainfall products and campaign-optimized methods over individual gauges and for areal rainfall characterizations. Rainfall products are also evaluated against the performance of a regional NWS Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) S-band dual-polarization radar product. Results indicate that the CSAPR system may achieve similar point– and areal–gauge bias and root-mean-square (RMS) error performance to a WSR-88D reference for the variety of MC3E deep convective events sampled. The best campaign rainfall performance was achieved when using radar relations capitalizing on estimates of the specific attenuation from the CSAPR system. The XSAPRs demonstrate limited capabilities, having modest success in comparison with the WSR-88D reference for hourly rainfall accumulations that are under 10 mm. All rainfall estimation methods exhibit a reduction by a factor of 1.5–2.5 in RMS errors for areal accumulations over a 15-km2 NASA dense gauge network, with the smallest errors typically associated with dual-polarization radar methods.

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Randy A. Peppler, Kenneth E. Kehoe, Justin W. Monroe, Adam K. Theisen, and Sean T. Moore
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Nathan A. Dahl, Alan Shapiro, Corey K. Potvin, Adam Theisen, Joshua G. Gebauer, Alexander D. Schenkman, and Ming Xue

Abstract

Observation system simulation experiments are used to evaluate different dual-Doppler analysis (DDA) methods for retrieving vertical velocity w at grid spacings on the order of 100 m within a simulated tornadic supercell. Variational approaches with and without a vertical vorticity equation constraint are tested, along with a typical (traditional) method involving vertical integration of the mass conservation equation. The analyses employ emulated radar data from dual-Doppler placements 15, 30, and 45 km east of the mesocyclone, with volume scan intervals ranging from 10 to 150 s. The effect of near-surface data loss is examined by denying observations below 1 km in some of the analyses. At the longer radar ranges and when no data denial is imposed, the “traditional” method produces results similar to those of the variational method and is much less expensive to implement. However, at close range and/or with data denial, the variational method is much more accurate, confirming results from previous studies. The vorticity constraint shows the potential to improve the variational analysis substantially, reducing errors in the w retrieval by up to 30% for rapid-scan observations (≤30 s) at close range when the local vorticity tendency is estimated using spatially variable advection correction. However, the vorticity constraint also degrades the analysis for longer scan intervals, and the impact diminishes with increased range. Furthermore, analyses using 30-s data also frequently outperform analyses using 10-s data, suggesting a limit to the benefit of increasing the radar scan rate for variational DDA employing the vorticity constraint.

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