Evaluation of two "integrated" polarimetric Quantitative Precipitation Estimation (QPE) algorithms at C-band
Tabary, P., Boumahmoud, A.-A., Andrieu, H., Thompson, R. J., Illingworth, A. J., Le Bouar, E. and Testud, J. (2011) Evaluation of two "integrated" polarimetric Quantitative Precipitation Estimation (QPE) algorithms at C-band. Journal of Hydrology, 405 (3-4). pp. 248-260. ISSN 0022-1694
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2011.05.021
Two so-called “integrated” polarimetric rate estimation techniques, ZPHI (Testud et al., 2000) and ZZDR (Illingworth and Thompson, 2005), are evaluated using 12 episodes of the year 2005 observed by the French C-band operational Trappes radar, located near Paris. The term “integrated” means that the concentration parameter of the drop size distribution is assumed to be constant over some area and the algorithms retrieve it using the polarimetric variables in that area. The evaluation is carried out in ideal conditions (no partial beam blocking, no ground-clutter contamination, no bright band contamination, a posteriori calibration of the radar variables ZH and ZDR) using hourly rain gauges located at distances less than 60 km from the radar. Also included in the comparison, for the sake of benchmarking, is a conventional Z = 282R1.66 estimator, with and without attenuation correction and with and without adjustment by rain gauges as currently done operationally at Météo France. Under those ideal conditions, the two polarimetric algorithms, which rely solely on radar data, appear to perform as well if not better, pending on the measurements conditions (attenuation, rain rates, …), than the conventional algorithms, even when the latter take into account rain gauges through the adjustment scheme. ZZDR with attenuation correction is the best estimator for hourly rain gauge accumulations lower than 5 mm h−1 and ZPHI is the best one above that threshold. A perturbation analysis has been conducted to assess the sensitivity of the various estimators with respect to biases on ZH and ZDR, taking into account the typical accuracy and stability that can be reasonably achieved with modern operational radars these days (1 dB on ZH and 0.2 dB on ZDR). A +1 dB positive bias on ZH (radar too hot) results in a +14% overestimation of the rain rate with the conventional estimator used in this study (Z = 282R^1.66), a -19% underestimation with ZPHI and a +23% overestimation with ZZDR. Additionally, a +0.2 dB positive bias on ZDR results in a typical rain rate under- estimation of 15% by ZZDR.