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The Relationship Between Radar Reflectivity Factor and Hail at the Ground for Northeast Colorado Thunderstorms

James E. DyeNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307

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Brooks E. MartnerDepartment of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie 2071

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Abstract

Data from the hailpad network of the National Hail Research Experiment were examined in relation to the equivalent radar reflectivity factors recorded in the lowest level sweeps of the radar beam over the pads during hailstorms in 1972 and 1976. The relationship between hail detected at the ground and reflectivity factor was examined for both areal coverage and on a point-by-point basis for each hailpad. The comparisons show that reflectivity factors of 55 dBZ are often measured when no hail is observed at the ground. Rain alone can give rise to reflectivities of this magnitude. The results of the study show that in northeastern Colorado low-level equivalent radar reflectivity factors alone cannot be used to determine the region of hailfall at the ground, nor are they likely to augment quantitative measurements by a ground network of hail sensors. The results found in northeastern Colorado are compared to results from other geographical regions.

Abstract

Data from the hailpad network of the National Hail Research Experiment were examined in relation to the equivalent radar reflectivity factors recorded in the lowest level sweeps of the radar beam over the pads during hailstorms in 1972 and 1976. The relationship between hail detected at the ground and reflectivity factor was examined for both areal coverage and on a point-by-point basis for each hailpad. The comparisons show that reflectivity factors of 55 dBZ are often measured when no hail is observed at the ground. Rain alone can give rise to reflectivities of this magnitude. The results of the study show that in northeastern Colorado low-level equivalent radar reflectivity factors alone cannot be used to determine the region of hailfall at the ground, nor are they likely to augment quantitative measurements by a ground network of hail sensors. The results found in northeastern Colorado are compared to results from other geographical regions.

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