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Mark N. French, Hervé Andrieu, and Witold F. Krajewski


Radar reflectivity is used to estimate meteorological quantities such as rainfall rate, liquid water content, and the related quantity, vertically integrated liquid (VIL) water content. The estimation of any of these quantities depends on several assumptions related to the characteristics of the physical processes controlling the occurrence and character of water in the atmosphere. Additionally, there are many sources of error associated with radar observations, such as those due to brightband, hail, and drop size distribution approximations. This work addresses one error of interest, the radar reflectivity observation error; other error sources are assumed to be corrected or negligible. The result is a relationship between the uncertainty in VIL water content and radar reflectivity measurement error. An example application illustrates the estimation of VIL uncertainty from typical radar reflectivity observations and indicates that the coefficient of variation in VIL is much larger than the coefficient of variation in radar reflectivity.

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