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Remko Uijlenhoet, Matthias Steiner, and James A. Smith

Abstract

The intrastorm variability of raindrop size distributions as a source of uncertainty in single-parameter and dual-parameter radar rainfall estimates is studied using time series analyses of disdrometer observations. Two rain-rate (R) estimators are considered: the traditional single-parameter estimator using only the radar reflectivity factor (Z) and a dual-polarization estimator using a combination of radar reflectivity at horizontal polarization (Z H) and differential reflectivity (Z DR). A case study for a squall-line system passing over the Goodwin Creek experimental watershed in northern Mississippi is presented. Microphysically, the leading convective line is characterized by large raindrop concentrations (>500 drops per cubic meter), large mean raindrop sizes (>1 mm), and wide raindrop size distributions (standard deviations >0.5 mm), as compared to the transition region and the trailing stratiform rain. The transition and stratiform phases have similar raindrop concentrations and mean raindrop sizes. Their main difference is that the distributions are wider in the latter. A scaling-law analysis reveals that the shapes of the scaled spectra are bent downward for small raindrop sizes in the leading convective line, slightly bent upward in the transition zone, and strongly bent upward in the trailing stratiform rain. The exponents of the resulting ZR relationships are roughly the same for the leading convective line and the trailing stratiform rain (≈1.4) and slightly larger for the transition region (≈1.5), with prefactors increasing in this order: transition (≈200), convective (≈300), stratiform (≈450). In terms of rainfall estimation bias, the best-fit mean R(Z H, Z DR) relationship outperforms the best-fit mean R(Z) relationship, both for each storm phase separately and for the event as a whole.

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Aart Overeem, Remko Uijlenhoet, and Hidde Leijnse

Abstract

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) operates two dual-polarization C-band weather radars in simultaneous transmission and reception (STAR; i.e., horizontally and vertically polarized pulses are transmitted simultaneously) mode, providing 2D radar rainfall products. Despite the application of Doppler and speckle filtering, remaining nonmeteorological echoes (especially sea clutter) mainly due to anomalous propagation still pose a problem. This calls for additional filtering algorithms, which can be realized by means of polarimetry. Here we explore the effectiveness of the open-source wradlib fuzzy echo classification and clutter identification based on polarimetric moments. Based on our study, this has recently been extended with the depolarization ratio and clutter phase alignment as new decision variables. Optimal values for weights of the different membership functions and threshold are determined employing a 4-h calibration dataset from one radar. The method is applied to a full year of volumetric data from the two radars in the Dutch temperate climate. The verification focuses on the presence of remaining nonmeteorological echoes by mapping the number of exceedances of radar reflectivity factors for given thresholds. Moreover, accumulated rainfall maps are obtained to detect unrealistically large rainfall depths. The results are compared to those for which no further filtering has been applied. Verification against rain gauge data reveals that only a little precipitation is removed. Because the fuzzy logic algorithm removes many nonmeteorological echoes, the practice to composite data from both radars in logarithmic space to hide these echoes is abandoned and replaced by linearly averaging reflectivities.

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Hidde Leijnse, Remko Uijlenhoet, and Alexis Berne

Abstract

Microwave links can be used for the estimation of path-averaged rainfall by using either the path-integrated attenuation or the difference in attenuation of two signals with different frequencies and/or polarizations. Link signals have been simulated using measured time series of raindrop size distributions (DSDs) over a period of nearly 2 yr, in combination with wind velocity data and Taylor’s hypothesis. For this purpose, Taylor’s hypothesis has been tested using more than 1.5 yr of high-resolution radar data. In terms of correlation between spatial and temporal profiles of rainfall intensities, the validity of Taylor’s hypothesis quickly decreases with distance. However, in terms of error statistics, the hypothesis is seen to hold up to distances of at least 10 km. Errors and uncertainties (mean bias error and root-mean-square error, respectively) in microwave link rainfall estimates due to spatial DSD variation are at a minimum at frequencies (and frequency combinations) where the power-law relation for the conversion to rainfall intensity is close to linear. Errors generally increase with link length, whereas uncertainties decrease because of the decrease of scatter about the retrieval relations because of averaging of spatially variable DSDs for longer links. The exponent of power-law rainfall retrieval relations can explain a large part of the variation in both bias and uncertainty, which means that the order of magnitude of these error statistics can be predicted from the value of this exponent, regardless of the link length.

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Remko Uijlenhoet, James A. Smith, and Matthias Steiner

Abstract

The controls on the variability of raindrop size distributions in extreme rainfall and the associated radar reflectivity–rain rate relationships are studied using a scaling-law formalism for the description of raindrop size distributions and their properties. This scaling-law formalism enables a separation of the effects of changes in the scale of the raindrop size distribution from those in its shape. Parameters controlling the scale and shape of the scaled raindrop size distribution may be related to the microphysical processes generating extreme rainfall. A global scaling analysis of raindrop size distributions corresponding to rain rates exceeding 100 mm h−1, collected during the 1950s with the Illinois State Water Survey raindrop camera in Miami, Florida, reveals that extreme rain rates tend to be associated with conditions in which the variability of the raindrop size distribution is strongly number controlled (i.e., characteristic drop sizes are roughly constant). This means that changes in properties of raindrop size distributions in extreme rainfall are largely produced by varying raindrop concentrations. As a result, rainfall integral variables (such as radar reflectivity and rain rate) are roughly proportional to each other, which is consistent with the concept of the so-called equilibrium raindrop size distribution and has profound implications for radar measurement of extreme rainfall. A time series analysis for two contrasting extreme rainfall events supports the hypothesis that the variability of raindrop size distributions for extreme rain rates is strongly number controlled. However, this analysis also reveals that the actual shapes of the (measured and scaled) spectra may differ significantly from storm to storm. This implies that the exponents of power-law radar reflectivity–rain rate relationships may be similar, and close to unity, for different extreme rainfall events, but their prefactors may differ substantially. Consequently, there is no unique radar reflectivity–rain rate relationship for extreme rain rates, but the variability is essentially reduced to one free parameter (i.e., the prefactor). It is suggested that this free parameter may be estimated on the basis of differential reflectivity measurements in extreme rainfall.

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Matthias Steiner, James A. Smith, and Remko Uijlenhoet

Abstract

The microphysical aspects of the relationship between radar reflectivity Z and rainfall rate R are examined. Various concepts discussed in the literature are integrated into a coherent analytical framework and discussed with a focus on the interpretability of ZR relations from a microphysical point of view. The forward problem of analytically characterizing the ZR relationship based on exponential, gamma, and monodisperse raindrop size distributions is highlighted as well as the inverse problem of a microphysical interpretation of empirically obtained ZR relation coefficients. Three special modes that a ZR relationship may attain are revealed, depending on whether the variability of the raindrop size distribution is governed by variations of drop number density, drop size, or a coordinated combination thereof with constant ratio of mean drop size and number density. A rain parameter diagram is presented that assists in diagnosing these microphysical modes. The number-controlled case results in linear ZR relations that have been observed for steady and statistically homogeneous or equilibrium rainfall conditions. Most rainfall situations, however, exhibit a variability of drop spectra that is facilitated by a mix of variations of drop size and number density, which results in the well-known power-law ZR relationships. Significant uncertainties are found to be associated with the retrieval of microphysical information from the ZR relation coefficients, but even more so with shortcomings of the measurement of rainfall information and the subsequent processing of that data to obtain a ZR relation. Given a proper consideration of the uncertainties, however, valuable microphysical information may be obtained, particularly as a result of long- term monitoring of rainfall for fixed observational settings but also through comparisons among different climatic rainfall regimes.

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Linda Bogerd, Aart Overeem, Hidde Leijnse, and Remko Uijlenhoet

Abstract

Applications like drought monitoring and forecasting can profit from the global and near-real-time availability of satellite-based precipitation estimates once their related uncertainties and challenges are identified and treated. To this end, this study evaluates the IMERG V06B Late Run precipitation product from the Global Precipitation Measurement mission (GPM), a multisatellite product that combines space-based radar, passive microwave (PMW), and infrared (IR) data into gridded precipitation estimates. The evaluation is performed on the spatiotemporal resolution of IMERG (0.1° × 0.1°, 30 min) over the Netherlands over a 5-yr period. A gauge-adjusted radar precipitation product from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) is used as reference, against which IMERG shows a large positive bias. To find the origin of this systematic overestimation, the data are divided into seasons, rainfall intensity ranges, echo top height (ETH) ranges, and categories based on the relative contributions of IR, morphing, and PMW data to the IMERG estimates. Furthermore, the specific radiometer is identified for each PMW-based estimate. IMERG’s detection performance improves with higher ETH and rainfall intensity, but the associated error and relative bias increase as well. Severe overestimation occurs during low-intensity rainfall events and is especially linked to PMW observations. All individual PMW instruments show the same pattern: overestimation of low-intensity events and underestimation of high-intensity events. IMERG misses a large fraction of shallow rainfall events, which is amplified when IR data are included. Space-based retrieval of shallow and low-intensity precipitation events should improve before IMERG can become accurate over the middle and high latitudes.

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Nan Yu, Guy Delrieu, Brice Boudevillain, Pieter Hazenberg, and Remko Uijlenhoet

Abstract

This study offers a unified formulation of single- and multimoment normalizations of the raindrop size distribution (DSD), which have been proposed in the framework of scaling analyses in the literature. The key point is to consider a well-defined “general distribution” g(x) as the probability density function (pdf) of the raindrop diameter scaled by a characteristic diameter D c. The two-parameter gamma pdf is used to model the g(x) function. This theory is illustrated with a 3-yr DSD time series collected in the Cévennes region, France. It is shown that three DSD moments (M 2, M 3, and M 4) make it possible to satisfactorily model the DSDs, both for individual spectra and for time series of spectra. The formulation is then extended to the one- and two-moment normalization by introducing single and dual power-law models. As compared with previous scaling formulations, this approach explicitly accounts for the prefactors of the power-law models to yield a unique and dimensionless g(x), whatever the scaling moment(s) considered. A parameter estimation procedure, based on the analysis of power-law regressions and the self-consistency relationships, is proposed for those normalizations. The implementation of this method with different scaling DSD moments (rain rate and/or radar reflectivity) yields g(x) functions similar to the one obtained with the three-moment normalization. For a particular rain event, highly consistent g(x) functions can be obtained during homogeneous rain phases, whatever the scaling moments used. However, the g(x) functions may present contrasting shapes from one phase to another. This supports the idea that the g(x) function is process dependent and not “unique” as hypothesized in the scaling theory.

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Thomas C. van Leth, Hidde Leijnse, Aart Overeem, and Remko Uijlenhoet

Abstract

We investigate the spatiotemporal structure of rainfall at spatial scales from 7 m to over 200 km in the Netherlands. We used data from two networks of laser disdrometers with complementary interstation distances in two Dutch cities (comprising five and six disdrometers, respectively) and a Dutch nationwide network of 31 automatic rain gauges. The smallest aggregation interval for which raindrop size distributions were collected by the disdrometers was 30 s, while the automatic rain gauges provided 10-min rainfall sums. This study aims to supplement other micro-γ investigations (usually performed in the context of spatial rainfall variability within a weather radar pixel) with new data, while characterizing the correlation structure across an extended range of scales. To quantify the spatiotemporal variability, we employ a two-parameter exponential model fitted to the spatial correlograms and characterize the parameters of the model as a function of the temporal aggregation interval. This widely used method allows for a meaningful comparison with seven other studies across contrasting climatic settings all around the world. We also separately analyzed the intermittency of the rainfall observations. We show that a single parameterization, consisting of a two-parameter exponential spatial model as a function of interstation distance combined with a power-law model for decorrelation distance as a function of aggregation interval, can coherently describe rainfall variability (both spatial correlation and intermittency) across a wide range of scales. Limiting the range of scales to those typically found in micro-γ variability studies (including four of the seven studies to which we compare our results) skews the parameterization and reduces its applicability to larger scales.

Open access
Gyu Won Lee, Isztar Zawadzki, Wanda Szyrmer, Daniel Sempere-Torres, and Remko Uijlenhoet

Abstract

Normalization of drop size distributions (DSDs) is reexamined here. First, an extension of the scaling normalization that uses one moment of the DSD as a scaling parameter to a more general scaling normalization that uses two moments as scaling parameters of the normalization is presented. In addition, the proposed formulation includes all two-parameter normalizations recently introduced in the literature. Thus, a unified vision of the question of DSD normalization and a good model representation of DSDs are given. Data analysis of some convective and stratiform DSDs shows that, from the point of view of the compact representation of DSDs, the double-moment normalization is preferred. However, in terms of physical interpretation, the scaling exponent of the single-moment normalization clearly indicates two different rain regimes, whereas in the double-moment normalization the two populations are not readily separated. It is also shown that DSD analytical models (exponential, gamma, and generalized gamma DSD) have the same scaling properties, indicating that the scaling formalism of DSDs is a very general way of describing DSDs.

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Ruud Hurkmans, Wilco Terink, Remko Uijlenhoet, Paul Torfs, Daniela Jacob, and Peter A. Troch

Abstract

Because of global warming, the hydrologic behavior of the Rhine basin is expected to shift from a combined snowmelt- and rainfall-driven regime to a more rainfall-dominated regime. Previous impact assessments have indicated that this leads, on average, to increasing streamflow by ∼30% in winter and spring and decreasing streamflow by a similar value in summer. In this study, high-resolution (0.088°) regional climate scenarios conducted with the regional climate model REMO (REgional MOdel) for the Rhine basin are used to force a macroscale hydrological model. These climate scenarios are based on model output from the ECHAM5–Max Planck Institute Ocean Model (MPI-OM) global climate model, which is in turn forced by three Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) emission scenarios: A2, A1B, and B1. The Variable Infiltration Capacity model (VIC; version 4.0.5) is used to examine changes in streamflow at various locations throughout the Rhine basin. Average streamflow, peak flows, low flows, and several water balance terms are evaluated for both the first and second half of the twenty-first century. The results reveal a distinct contrast between those periods. The first half is dominated by increased precipitation, causing increased streamflow throughout the year. During the second half of the century, a streamflow increase in winter/spring and a decrease in summer is found, similar to previous studies. This is caused by 1) temperature and evapotranspiration, which are considerably higher during the second half of the century; 2) decreased precipitation in summer; and 3) an earlier start of the snowmelt season. Magnitudes of peak flows increase during both periods, and the magnitudes of streamflow droughts increase only during the second half of the century.

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