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Polarization Radar Estimates of Raindrop Size Spectra and Rainfall Rates

A. J. IllingworthDepartment of Pure and Applied Physics, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, Manchester, U.K.

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I. J. CaylorDepartment of Pure and Applied Physics, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, Manchester, U.K.

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Abstract

The differential reflectivity (ZDR) measures the mean shape of hydrometeors and provides an estimate of the mean size of raindrops Observations of ZDR for rain may be combined with the conventional radar reflectivity factor (Z) and fitted to any two-parameter raindrop size distribution and this information used to derive more accurate rainfall rates. In such work the precise shape of raindrops is a critical parameter. Recently available data suggest that large raindrops are more oblate than previously believed. These new shapes support the idea that ZDR values above 3.5 dB can be attributed to rain. Average values of ZDR as a function of Z obtained in heavy rain by the Chilbolton radar agree very closely with those predicted using the new shapes. Statistics are also presented of the natural variability of raindrop spectra in heavy rain. Analytic expressions are proposed for computing rainfall rate from Z and ZDR.

Abstract

The differential reflectivity (ZDR) measures the mean shape of hydrometeors and provides an estimate of the mean size of raindrops Observations of ZDR for rain may be combined with the conventional radar reflectivity factor (Z) and fitted to any two-parameter raindrop size distribution and this information used to derive more accurate rainfall rates. In such work the precise shape of raindrops is a critical parameter. Recently available data suggest that large raindrops are more oblate than previously believed. These new shapes support the idea that ZDR values above 3.5 dB can be attributed to rain. Average values of ZDR as a function of Z obtained in heavy rain by the Chilbolton radar agree very closely with those predicted using the new shapes. Statistics are also presented of the natural variability of raindrop spectra in heavy rain. Analytic expressions are proposed for computing rainfall rate from Z and ZDR.

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