Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 16 items for

  • Author or Editor: S. A. Rutledge x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
R. Cifelli, S. W. Nesbitt, S. A. Rutledge, W. A. Petersen, and S. Yuter

Abstract

Ship-based radar data are used to compare the structure of precipitation features in two regions of the east Pacific where recent field campaigns were conducted: the East Pacific Investigation of Climate Processes in the Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere System (EPIC-2001; 10°N, 95°W) in September 2001 and the Tropical Eastern Pacific Process Study (TEPPS; 8°N, 125°W) in August 1997. Corresponding July–September 1998–2004 Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation radar (PR) data are also used to provide context for the field campaign data. An objective technique is developed to identify precipitation features in the ship and TRMM PR data and to develop statistics on horizontal and vertical structure and precipitation characteristics. Precipitation features were segregated into mesoscale convective system (MCS) and sub-MCS categories, based on a contiguous area threshold of 1000 km2 (these features were required to have at least one convective pixel), as well as an “other” (NC) category. Comparison of the satellite and field campaign data showed that the two datasets were in good agreement for both regions with respect to MCS features. Specifically, both the satellite and ship radar data showed that approximately 80% of the rainfall volume in both regions was contributed by MCS features, similar to results from other observational datasets. EPIC and TEPPS MCSs had similar area distributions but EPIC MCSs tended to be more vertically developed and rain heavier than their TEPPS counterparts. In contrast to MCSs, smaller features (NCs and sub-MCSs) sampled by the ship radar in both regions showed important differences compared with the PR climatology. In the EPIC field campaign, a large number of small (<100 km2), shallow (radar echo tops below the melting level) NCs and sub-MCSs were sampled. A persistent dry layer above 800 mb during undisturbed periods in EPIC may have been responsible for the high occurrence of these features. Also, during the TEPPS campaign, sub-MCSs were larger and deeper with respect to the TRMM climatology, which may have been due to the higher than average SSTs during 1997–98 when TEPPS was conducted. Despite these differences, it was found that for sizes greater than about 100 km2, EPIC precipitation features had 30-dBZ echos at higher altitudes and also had higher rain rates than similar sized TEPPS features. These results suggest that ice processes play a more important role in rainfall production in EPIC compared with TEPPS.

Full access
R. Cifelli, S. W. Nesbitt, S. A. Rutledge, W. A. Petersen, and S. Yuter

Abstract

This study examines the diurnal cycle of precipitation features in two regions of the tropical east Pacific where field campaigns [the East Pacific Investigation of Climate Processes in the Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere System (EPIC) and the Tropical Eastern Pacific Process Study (TEPPS)] were recently conducted. EPIC (10°N, 95°W) was undertaken in September 2001 and TEPPS (8°N, 125°W) was carried out in August 1997. Both studies employed C-band radar observations on board the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown (RHB) and periodic upper-air sounding launches to observe conditions in the surrounding environment. Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) IR data are used to place the RHB data in a climatological context and Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) buoy data are used to evaluate changes in boundary layer fluxes in context with the observed diurnal cycle of radar observations of precipitation features.

Precipitation features are defined as contiguous regions of radar echo and are subdivided into mesoscale convective system (MCS) and sub-MCS categories. Results show that MCSs observed in EPIC and TEPPS have distinct diurnal signatures. Both regions show an increase in intensity starting in the afternoon hours, with the timing of maximum rain intensity preceding maxima in rain area and accumulation. In the TEPPS region, MCS rain rates peak in the evening and rain area and accumulation in the late night–early morning hours. In contrast, EPIC MCS rain rates peak in the late night–early morning, and rain area and accumulation are at a maximum near local sunrise. The EPIC observations are in agreement with previous satellite studies over the Americas, which show a phase lag response in the adjacent oceanic regions to afternoon–evening convection over the Central American landmass. Sub-MCS features in both regions have a broad peak extending through the evening to late night–early morning hours, similar to that for MCSs. During sub-MCS-only periods, the rainfall patterns of these features are closely linked to diurnal changes in SST and the resulting boundary layer flux variability.

Full access
R. Cifelli, V. Chandrasekar, S. Lim, P. C. Kennedy, Y. Wang, and S. A. Rutledge

Abstract

The efficacy of dual-polarization radar for quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) has been demonstrated in a number of previous studies. Specifically, rainfall retrievals using combinations of reflectivity (Z h), differential reflectivity (Z dr), and specific differential phase (K dp) have advantages over traditional ZR methods because more information about the drop size distribution (DSD) and hydrometeor type are available. In addition, dual-polarization-based rain-rate estimators can better account for the presence of ice in the sampling volume.

An important issue in dual-polarization rainfall estimation is determining which method to employ for a given set of polarimetric observables. For example, under what circumstances does differential phase information provide superior rain estimates relative to methods using reflectivity and differential reflectivity? At Colorado State University (CSU), an optimization algorithm has been developed and used for a number of years to estimate rainfall based on thresholds of Z h, Z dr, and K dp. Although the algorithm has demonstrated robust performance in both tropical and midlatitude environments, results have shown that the retrieval is sensitive to the selection of the fixed thresholds.

In this study, a new rainfall algorithm is developed using hydrometeor identification (HID) to guide the choice of the particular rainfall estimation algorithm. A separate HID algorithm has been developed primarily to guide the rainfall application with the hydrometeor classes, namely, all rain, mixed precipitation, and all ice.

Both the data collected from the S-band Colorado State University–University of Chicago–Illinois State Water Survey (CSU–CHILL) radar and a network of rain gauges are used to evaluate the performance of the new algorithm in mixed rain and hail in Colorado. The evaluation is also performed using an algorithm similar to the one developed for the Joint Polarization Experiment (JPOLE). Results show that the new CSU HID-based algorithm provides good performance for the Colorado case studies presented here.

Full access
P. T. May, T. D. Keenan, D. S. Zrnić, L. D. Carey, and S. A. Rutledge

Abstract

A 5-cm wavelength (C band) polarimetric radar was deployed during the MCTEX (Maritime Continent Thunderstorm Experiment) field program. This paper investigates the use of the C-band data for quantitative rainfall measurements with particular emphasis on specific differential phase (K DP) and traditional reflectivity-based rain-rate estimates in moderate to high rain rates (10–200 mm h−1). Large values of backscatter differential phase shift are occasionally seen in these data, thus resonance scattering effects are important. A consensus algorithm for K DP estimation in these cases is described. The rain-rate estimates are compared with the data from a d-scale rain gauge network. The K DP estimates are shown to produce the highest quality data, although variations in drop size distribution characteristics have a significant effect on the rain estimates. When corrections are applied for beam blockage and attenuation, good agreement can also be obtained with Z–R-based estimates. The attenuation corrections were made using a polarimetric variable, total differential phase, which provides an estimate of the total water content along the path. The polarimetric estimates of total accumulation also show excellent agreement.

Full access
E. R. Williams, S. G. Geotis, N. Renno, S. A. Rutledge, E. Rasmussen, and T. Rickenbach

Abstract

Radar and electrical measurements for deep tropical convection are examined for both “break period” and “monsoonal” regimes in the vicinity of Darwin, Australia. Break period convection consists primarily of deep continental convection, whereas oceanic-based convection dominates during monsoonal periods, associated with the monsoon trough over Darwin. Order-of-magnitude enhancements in lightning flash rates for the “break period” regime are associated with 10–20-dB enhancements in radar reflectivity in the mixed-phase region of the convection compared with the monsoonal regime. The latter differences are attributed to the effect of convective available potential energy (CAPE) and its nonlinear influence on the growth and accumulation of ice particles aloft, which are believed to promote charge separation by differential particle motions. CAPE, in turn, is largely determined by the boundary-layer wet-bulb temperature. Modest differences (1°–3°C) in wet-bulb potential temperature between land and sea may account for the order-of-magnitude contrast in recently observed land–ocean lightning activity.

Full access
Robert A. Houze Jr., S. A. Rutledge, M. I. Biggerstaff, and B. F. Smull

The utility of color displays of Doppler-radar data in revealing real-time kinematic information has been demonstrated in past studies, especially for extratropical cyclones and severe thunderstorms. Such displays can also indicate aspects of the circulation within a certain type of mesoscale convective system—the squall line with trailing “stratiform” rain. Displays from a single Doppler radar collected in two squall-line storms observed during the Oklahoma-Kansas PRE-STORM project conducted in May and June 1985 reveal mesoscale-flow patterns in the stratiform rain region of the squall line, such as front-to-rear storm-relative flow at upper levels, a subsiding storm-relative rear inflow at middle and low levels, and low-level divergent flow associated with strong mesoscale subsidence. “Dual-Doppler” analysis further illustrates these mesoscale-flow features and, in addition, shows the structure of the convective region within the squall line and a mesoscale vortex in the “stratiform” region trailing the line. A refined conceptual model of this type of mesoscale convective system is presented based on previous studies and observations reported here.

Recognition of “single-Doppler-radar” patterns of the type described in this paper, together with awareness of the conceptual model, should aid in the identification and interpretation of this type of mesoscale system at future NEXRAD sites. The dual-Doppler results presented here further indicate the utility of multiple-Doppler observations of mesoscale convective systems in the STORM program.

Full access
Walter A. Petersen, Robert C. Cifelli, Steven A. Rutledge, Brad S. Ferrier, and Bradley F. Smull

Shipborne Doppler radar operations were conducted over the western Pacific warm pool during TOGA COARE using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NOAA TOGA C-band Doppler radars. Occasionally the ships carrying these radars were brought to within 50 km of each other to conduct coordinated dual-Doppler scanning. The dual-Doppler operations were considered a test of the logistical and engineering constraints associated with establishing a seagoing dual-Doppler configuration. A very successful dual-Doppler data collection period took place on 9 February 1993 when an oceanic squall line developed, intensified, and propagated through the shipborne dual-Doppler lobes. Later on the same day, NOAA P-3 aircraft sampled a more intense squall line located approximately 400 km to the southeast of the shipborne operations. This study provides an overview of the shipborne dual-Doppler operations, followed by a comparison of the kinematic and precipitation structures of the convective systems sampled by the ships and aircraft. Special emphasis is placed on interpretation of the results relative to the electrical characteristics of each system.

Soundings taken in the vicinity of the ship and aircraft cases exhibited similar thermodynamic instability and shear. Yet Doppler radar analyses suggest that the aircraft case exhibited a larger degree of low-level forcing, stronger updrafts, more precipitation mass in the mixed-phase region of the clouds, and a relatively higher degree of electrification as evidenced by lightning observations. Conversely, convection in the ship case, while producing maximum cloud-top heights of 16 km, was associated with relatively weaker low-level forcing, weaker vertical development above the −5°C level, moderate electric fields at the surface, and little detectable lightning. Differences in the kinematic and precipitation structures were further manifested in composite vertical profiles of mean convective precipitation and vertical motion. When considered relative to the electrical properties of the two systems, the results provide further circumstantial evidence to support previously hypothesized vertical velocity and radar reflectivity thresholds that must be exceeded in the 0° to −20°C regions of tropical cumulonimbi prior to the occurrence of lightning.

Full access
B. Dolan, B. Fuchs, S. A. Rutledge, E. A. Barnes, and E. J. Thompson

Abstract

Understanding drop size distribution (DSD) variability has important implications for remote sensing and numerical modeling applications. Twelve disdrometer datasets across three latitude bands are analyzed in this study, spanning a broad range of precipitation regimes: light rain, orographic, deep convective, organized midlatitude, and tropical oceanic. Principal component analysis (PCA) is used to reveal comprehensive modes of global DSD spatial and temporal variability. Although the locations contain different distributions of individual DSD parameters, all locations are found to have the same modes of variability. Based on PCA, six groups of points with unique DSD characteristics emerge. The physical processes that underpin these groups are revealed through supporting radar observations. Group 1 (group 2) is characterized by high (low) liquid water content (LWC), broad (narrow) distribution widths, and large (small) median drop diameters D 0. Radar analysis identifies group 1 (group 2) as convective (stratiform) rainfall. Group 3 is characterized by weak, shallow radar echoes and large concentrations of small drops, indicative of warm rain showers. Group 4 identifies heavy stratiform precipitation. The low latitudes exhibit distinct bimodal distributions of the normalized intercept parameter N w, LWC, and D 0 and are found to have a clustering of points (group 5) with high rain rates, large N w, and moderate D 0, a signature of robust warm rain processes. A distinct group associated with ice-based convection (group 6) emerges in the midlatitudes. Although all locations exhibit the same covariance of parameters associated with these groups, it is likely that the physical processes responsible for shaping the DSDs vary as a function of location.

Full access
Brenda Dolan, Steven A. Rutledge, S. Lim, V. Chandrasekar, and M. Thurai

Abstract

A new 10-category, polarimetric-based hydrometeor identification algorithm (HID) for C band is developed from theoretical scattering simulations including wet snow, hail, and big drops/melting hail. The HID is applied to data from seven wet seasons in Darwin, Australia, using the polarimetric C-band (C-POL) radar, to investigate microphysical differences between monsoon and break periods. Scattering simulations reveal significant Mie effects with large hail (diameter > 1.5 cm), with reduced reflectivity and enhanced differential reflectivity Z dr and specific differential phase K dp relative to those associated with S band. Wet snow is found to be associated with greatly depreciated correlation coefficient ρ hv and moderate values of Z dr. It is noted that large oblate liquid drops can produce the same electromagnetic signatures at C band as melting hail falling quasi stably, resulting in some ambiguity in the HID retrievals. Application of the new HID to seven seasons of C-POL data reveals that hail and big drops/melting hail occur much more frequently during break periods than during monsoon periods. Break periods have a high frequency of vertically aligned ice above 12 km, suggesting the presence of strong electric fields. Reflectivity and mean drop diameter D 0 statistics demonstrate that convective areas in both monsoon and break periods may have robust coalescence or melting precipitation ice processes, leading to enhanced reflectivity and broader distributions of D 0. Conversely, for stratiform regions in both regimes, mean reflectivity decreases below the melting level, indicative of evaporative processes. Break periods also have larger ice water path fractions, indicating substantial mixed-phase precipitation generation as compared with monsoonal periods. In monsoon periods, a larger percentage of precipitation is produced through warm-rain processes.

Full access
V. Chandrasekar, Arthur Hou, Eric Smith, V. N. Bringi, S. A. Rutledge, E. Gorgucci, W. A. Petersen, and Gail Skofronick Jackson

Dual-polarization weather radars have evolved significantly in the last three decades culminating in operational deployment by the National Weather Service. In addition to operational applications in the weather service, dual-polarization radars have shown significant potential in contributing to the research fields of ground-based remote sensing of rainfall microphysics, the study of precipitation evolution, and hydrometeor classification. Microphysical characterization of precipitation and quantitative precipitation estimation are important applications that are critical in the validation of satellite-borne precipitation measurements and also serve as valuable tools in algorithm development. This paper presents the important role played by dual-polarization radar in validating spaceborne precipitation measurements. Examples of raindrop size distribution retrievals and hydrometeor-type classification are discussed. The quantitative precipitation estimation is a product of direct relevance to spaceborne observations. During the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) program substantial advancement was made with ground-based polarization radars collecting unique observations in the tropics, which are noted. The scientific accomplishments of relevance to spaceborne measurements of precipitation are summarized. The potential of dual-polarization radars and opportunities in the era of the global precipitation measurement mission is also discussed.

Full access