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M. Thurai, D. Hudak, and V. N. Bringi

Abstract

A decrease in copolar correlation coefficient (ρ co) at C band has been observed for several rain events with broad drop size distributions (DSDs). Observational evidence comes from simultaneous measurements with a C-band dual-polarization radar and a 2D video disdrometer. The possibility of utilizing the ρ co decrease for DSD retrievals is discussed. A preliminary method using the copolar reflectivity, differential reflectivity, and ρ co is given for estimating the DSD parameters. Validation is carried out by deriving the differential propagation phase (Φdp) from the estimated DSD parameters and comparing against measurements. The method presented here shows potential but needs to be further assessed in different rain climatologies.

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M. Thurai, P. T. May, and A. Protat

Abstract

The effect of ship motion on shipborne polarimetric radar measurements is considered at C band. Calculations are carried out by (i) varying the “effective” mean canting angle and (ii) separately examining the elevation dependence. Scattering from a single oblate hydrometeor is considered at first. Equations are derived (i) to convert the measured differential reflectivity for nonzero mean canting angles to those for zero mean canting angle and (ii) to do the corresponding corrections for nonzero elevation angles. Scattering calculations are also performed using the T-matrix method with measured drop size distributions as input. Dependence on mean volume diameter is examined as well as variations of the four main polarimetric parameters. The results show that as long as the ship movement is limited to a roll of less than about 10°–15°, the effects are tolerable. Furthermore, the results from the scattering simulations have been used to provide equations for correction factors that can be applied to compensate for the “apparent” nonzero canting angles and nonzero elevation angles, so that drop size distribution parameters and rainfall rates can be estimated without any bias.

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V. N. Bringi, M. A. Rico-Ramirez, and M. Thurai

Abstract

The estimate of rainfall using data from an operational dual-polarized C-band radar in convective storms in southeast United Kingdom is compared against a network of gauges. Four different rainfall estimators are considered: reflectivity–rain-rate (ZR) relation, with and without correcting for rain attenuation; a composite estimator, based on (i) ZR, (ii) R(Z, Z dr), and (iii) R(K dp); and exclusively R(K dp). The various radar rain-rate estimators are developed using Joss disdrometer data from Chilbolton, United Kingdom. Hourly accumulations over radar pixels centered on the gauge locations are compared, with approximately 2500 samples available for gauge hourly accumulations > 0.2 mm. Overall, the composite estimator performed the “best” based on robust statistical measures such as mean absolute error, the Nash–Sutcliffe coefficient, and mean bias, at all rainfall thresholds (>0.2, 1, 3, or 6 mm) with improving measures at the higher thresholds of >3 and >6 mm (higher rain rates). Error variance separation is carried out by estimating the gauge representativeness error using 4 yr of gauge data from the Hydrological Radar Experiment. The proportion of variance of the radar-to-gauge differences that could be explained by the gauge representativeness errors ranged from 20% to 55% (for the composite rain-rate estimator). The radar error is found to decrease from approximately 70% at the lower rain rates to 20% at the higher rain rates. The composite rain-rate estimator performed as well as can be expected from error variance analysis, at mean hourly rain rates of about 5 mm h−1 or larger with mean bias of ~10% (underestimate).

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V. N. Bringi, L. Tolstoy, M. Thurai, and W. A. Petersen

Abstract

Polarimetric radar data obtained at high spatial and temporal resolutions offer a distinct advantage in estimating the spatial correlation function of drop size distribution (DSD) parameters and rain rate compared with a fixed gauge–disdrometer network. On two days during the 2011 Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) campaign in Oklahoma, NASA’s S-band polarimetric radar (NPOL) performed repeated PPI scans every 40 s over six 2D video disdrometer (2DVD) sites, located 20–30 km from the radar. The two cases were 1) a rapidly evolving multicell rain event (with large drops) and 2) a long-duration stratiform rain event. From the time series at each polar pixel, the Pearson correlation coefficient is computed as a function of distance along each radial in the PPI scan. Azimuthal dependence is found, especially for the highly convective event. A pseudo-1D spatial correlation is computed that is fitted to a modified-exponential function with two parameters (decorrelation distance R 0 and shape F). The first event showed significantly higher spatial variability in rain rate (shorter decorrelation distance R 0 = 3.4 km) compared with the second event with R 0 = 10.2 km. Further, for the second event, the spatial correlation of the DSD parameters and rain rate from radar showed good agreement with 2DVD-based spatial correlations over distances ranging from 1.5 to 7 km. The NPOL also performed repeated RHI scans every 40 s along one azimuth centered over the 2DVD network. Vertical correlations of the DSD parameters as well as the rainwater content were determined below the melting level, with the first event showing more variability compared with the second event.

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M. Thurai, V. N. Bringi, and P. T. May

Abstract

This note builds on prior technique development related to the classification of rain types utilizing C-band polarimetric (CPOL) radar measurements. While the prior work was preliminary and limited in scope, the authors elaborate here on the basis of the drop size distribution (DSD)-based indexing technique for rain-type classification (convective/stratiform/mixed), and place it on firmer footing by testing the methodology against texture- and disdrometer-based methods as applied to Darwin datasets. A microphysical-based methodology is attractive as it links more directly to the underlying rainfall physical processes.

Statistics of the DSD parameters, namely, histograms of log10(Nw) and D 0, for convective and stratiform rain types across the premonsoon buildup and monsoon regimes were derived and further separated for over land and over ocean regions. The maximum value for mean D 0 (1.64 mm) and the largest histogram standard deviation (0.32 mm) occurred for convective rain over land during the buildup regime. The largest differences in D 0 and NW histograms were found to be for convective rain between the buildup and monsoon regimes (independent of land or ocean areas). Stratiform rain histograms were found to be very similar during the buildup regime with little land–ocean differences. However, somewhat larger land–ocean differences were found for the monsoon stratiform rain. The main histogram characteristics of the “mixed” or “uncertain” rain type were closer to the convective rain type than to stratiform, across both regimes and land–ocean areas. Additionally, the Nw versus D 0 cluster of points (mean ±1σ) for convective rain agrees very well with the previously published range of values for maritime convective (equilibrium-like) DSDs.

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P. T. May, V. N. Bringi, and M. Thurai

Abstract

Rain drop size distributions retrieved from polarimetric radar measurements over regularly occurring thunderstorms over the islands north of Darwin, Australia, are used to test if aerosol contributions to the probability distributions of the drop size distribution parameters (median volume diameter and normalized intercept parameter) are detectable. The observations reported herein are such that differences in cloud properties arising from thermodynamic differences are minimized but even so may be a factor. However, there is a clear signature that high aerosol concentrations are correlated with smaller number concentrations and larger drops. This may be associated with enhanced ice multiplication processes for low aerosol concentration storms or other processes such as invigoration of the updrafts.

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M. Thurai, H. Kumagai, T. Kozu, and J. Awaka

Abstract

A range-profiling method proposed for nadir-looking rain radar has been investigated using aircraft measurements of a typhoon event at 10 and 35 GHz. In order to take into account the effects of change in the hydrometeor phase along the radar beam, it was necessary to modify the original method. Instead of using an analytic expression for the retrieval of radar reflectivity, a numerical solution is described that enables one to include the melting layer contribution. Results show a marked improvement in the estimated rainfall rates even when a fairly simple brightband model is used, indicating the usefulness and necessity of incorporating a brightband model in a retrieval of rain rate with a downward-looking radar. The improvement occurs mainly in the retrieved Ka-band results and highlights the importance of the melting layer in retrieval algorithms, particularly for high frequencies.

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Gwo-Jong Huang, V. N. Bringi, and M. Thurai

Abstract

This note reports on the use of a 2D video disdrometer to estimate the orientation of drops (>2 mm) that were generated artificially and allowed to fall 80 m from a bridge with no obstruction and under calm conditions. This experimental setup enabled a large number of drops to be generated, up to 10 mm in horizontal dimension.

The distribution of the canting angles for all drops >2 mm was found to be nearly symmetric about 0° with standard deviation between 7° and 8°. From the canting angle distributions derived from the two orthogonal camera view planes, the distributions of the polar (θ) and azimuth (ϕ) angles were deduced; these two angles describe the 2D orientation of the symmetry axis. The azimuthal angle distribution was found to be nearly uniform in the range (0, 2π), whereas the distribution of p Ω(θ) = p(θ) sinθ was similar in shape to a special form of the Fisher distribution that is valid for describing the statistics on a spherical surface. The standard deviation of p Ω(θ) showed that larger drops are more stably oriented than smaller ones. This is in agreement with previous radar-based results of standard deviation of the canting angle decreasing with increasing Z dr.

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V. N. Bringi, P. C. Kennedy, G.-J. Huang, C. Kleinkort, M. Thurai, and B. M. Notaroš

Abstract

Comprehensive analysis of an unusual graupel-shower event recorded by an S-band polarimetric radar and two optical-imaging surface instruments is presented. The primary radar characteristic was negative differential reflectivity Z dr values along a vertical column. During the afternoon hours of 16 February 2015, a sequence of three showers that were composed primarily of small (8–15-mm diameter) graupel affected the ground instrumentation site that was established for the Multi-Angle Snowflake Camera and Radar (MASCRAD) experiment in the high plains of Colorado. While these showers passed the instrumentation site, the CSU–CHILL radar conducted high-time-resolution (~2.5-min cycle time) range–height indicator (RHI) scans from a range of 13 km. The RHI data show that the negative Z dr values extended vertically through much of the reflectivity cores, implying that the reflectivity-weighted mean axis ratios of the graupel particles in this event remained somewhat prolate throughout their lifetime. To be specific, the cores of the convective showers only extended to heights of ~3.5 km AGL and had fractionally negative (from ~−0.3 to −0.7 dB) Z dr levels in those cores. Particle-image data obtained by the MASC system and by a collocated 2D video disdrometer measured the diameters, shapes, and fall speeds of the graupel particles as they reached the surface. The graupel particles were found to be primarily of the lump type with a slightly prolate mean shape (especially for the larger-diameter particles). Microwave backscatter calculations confirm that the graupel-particle shape and orientation characteristics are consistent with the observed slightly, but consistently, negative Z dr values.

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M. Thurai, G. J. Huang, V. N. Bringi, W. L. Randeu, and M. Schönhuber

Abstract

Drop shapes derived from a previously conducted artificial rain experiment using a two-dimensional video disdrometer (2DVD) are presented. The experiment involved drops falling over a distance of 80 m to achieve their terminal velocities as well as steady-state oscillations. The previous study analyzed the measured axis ratios (i.e., ratio of maximum vertical to maximum horizontal chord) as a function of equivolumetric spherical drop diameter (D eq) for over 115 000 drops ranging from 1.5 to 9 mm. In this paper, the actual contoured shapes of the drops are reported, taking into account the finite quantization limits of the instrument. The shapes were derived from the fast line-scanning cameras of the 2DVD. The drops were categorized into D eq intervals of 0.25-mm width and the smoothed contours for each drop category were superimposed on each other to obtain their most probable shapes and their variations due to drop oscillations. The most probable shapes show deviation from oblate spheroids for D eq > 4 mm, the larger drops having a more flattened base, in good agreement with the equilibrium (nonoblate) shape model of Beard and Chuang. Deviations were noted from the Beard and Chuang model shapes for diameters larger than 6 mm. However, the 2DVD measurements of the most probable contour shapes are the first to validate the Beard and Chuang model shapes for large drops, and further to demonstrate the differences from the equivalent oblate shapes. The purpose of this paper is to document the differences in radar polarization parameters and the range of error incurred when using the equivalent oblate shapes versus the most probable contoured shapes measured with the 2DVD especially for drop size distributions (DSDs) with large median volume diameters (>2 mm).

The measured contours for D eq > 1.5 mm were fitted to a modified conical equation, and scattering calculations were performed to derive the complex scattering amplitudes for forward and backscatter for H and V polarizations primarily at 5.34 GHz (C band) but also at 3 GHz (S band) and 9 GHz (X band). Calculations were also made to derive the relevant dual-polarization radar parameters for measured as well as model-based drop size distributions. When comparing calculations using the contoured shapes against the equivalent oblate spheroid shapes, good agreement was obtained for cases with median volume diameter (D 0) less than around 2 mm. Small systematic differences in the differential reflectivity (Z dr) values of up to 0.3 dB were seen for the larger D 0 values when using the oblate shapes, which can be primarily attributed to the shape differences in the resonance region, which occurs in the 5.5–7-mm-diameter range at C band. Lesser systematic differences were present in the resonance region at X band (3–4 mm). At S band, the impact of shape differences in the polarimetric parameters were relatively minor for D 0 up to 2.5 mm. Unusual DSDs with very large D 0 values (>3 mm) (e.g., as can occur along the leading edge of severe convective storms or aloft due localized “big drop” zones) can accentuate the Z dr difference between the contoured shape and the oblate spheroid equivalent, especially at C band. For attenuation-correction schemes based on differential propagation phase, it appears that the equivalent oblate shape approximation is sufficient using a fit to the axis ratios from the 80-m fall experiment given in this paper. For high accuracy in developing algorithms for predicting D 0 from Z dr, it is recommended that the fit to the most probable contoured shapes as given in this paper be used especially at C band.

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