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W. J. Keat, C. D. Westbrook, and A. J. Illingworth


The copolar correlation coefficient ρ hv has many applications, including hydrometeor classification, ground clutter and melting-layer identification, interpretation of ice microphysics, and the retrieval of raindrop size distributions (DSDs). However, the quantitative error estimates that are necessary if these applications are to be fully exploited are currently lacking. Previous error estimates of ρ hv rely on knowledge of the unknown “true” ρ hv and implicitly assume a Gaussian probability distribution function of ρ hv samples. Frequency distributions of ρ hv estimates are in fact shown to be highly negatively skewed. A new variable, = log10(1 − ρ hv), is defined that does have Gaussian error statistics and a standard deviation depending only on the number of independent radar pulses. This is verified using observations of spherical drizzle drops, allowing, for the first time, the construction of rigorous confidence intervals in estimates of ρ hv. In addition, the manner in which the imperfect collocation of the horizontal and vertical polarization sample volumes may be accounted for is demonstrated. The possibility of using L to estimate the dispersion parameter μ in the gamma drop size distribution is investigated. Including drop oscillations is found to be essential for this application; otherwise, there could be biases in retrieved μ of up to approximately 8. Preliminary results in rainfall are presented. In a convective rain case study, the estimates presented herein show μ to be substantially larger than 0 (an exponential DSD). In this particular rain event, rain rate would be overestimated by up to 50% if a simple exponential DSD is assumed.

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T. H. M. Stein, W. Keat, R. I. Maidment, S. Landman, E. Becker, D. F. A. Boyd, A. Bodas-Salcedo, G. Pankiewicz, and S. Webster


Since 2016, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) has been running convective-scale simulations to assist with forecast operations across southern Africa. These simulations are run with a tropical configuration of the Met Office Unified Model (UM), nested in the Met Office global model, but without data assimilation. For November 2016, convection-permitting simulations at 4.4- and 1.5-km grid lengths are compared against a simulation at 10-km grid length with convection parameterization (the current UM global atmosphere configuration) to identify the benefits of increasing model resolution for forecasting convection across southern Africa. The simulations are evaluated against satellite rainfall estimates, CloudSat vertical cloud profiles, and SAWS radar data. In line with previous studies using the UM, on a monthly time scale, the diurnal cycle of convection and the distribution of rainfall rates compare better against observations when convection-permitting model configurations are used. The SAWS radar network provides a three-dimensional composite of radar reflectivity for northeast South Africa at 6-min intervals, allowing the evaluation of the vertical development of precipitating clouds and of the timing of the onset of deep convection. Analysis of four case study days indicates that the 4.4-km simulations have a later onset of convection than the 1.5-km simulations, but there is no consistent bias of the simulations against the radar observations across the case studies.

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