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The potential use of the linear depolarization ratio to distinguish between convective and stratiform rainfall to improve radar rain-rate estimates

Sandford, C., Illingworth, A. and Thompson, R. (2017) The potential use of the linear depolarization ratio to distinguish between convective and stratiform rainfall to improve radar rain-rate estimates. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 56 (11). pp. 2927-2940. ISSN 1558-8432

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/jamc-d-17-0014.1

Abstract/Summary

A major source of errors in radar-derived quantitative precipitation estimates is the inhomogeneous nature of the vertical reflectivity profile (VPR). Operational radars generally scan in azimuth at constant elevation (PPI mode) and provide limited VPR information, so predetermined VPR shapes with limited degrees of freedom are needed to correct for the VPR in real time. Typical stratiform VPRs have a sharp peak below the 0° isotherm, known as the “bright band,” caused by the presence of large melting snowflakes, but this feature is not present in convective cores where the melting ice is in the form of graupel or compact ice. Inappropriate correction assuming a brightband VPR can lead to underestimation of rain rates, with particular impacts in intense convective storms. This paper proposes the use of high values of linear depolarization ratio (LDR) measurements to confirm the presence of large melting snowflakes and lower values for melting graupel or high-density ice as a prerequisite to selecting a suitable profile shape for VPR correction. Using a climatologically representative dataset of short-range, high-resolution C-band vertical profiles, the peak value of the LDR in the melting layer is shown to have robust skill in identifying VPRs without bright band, with the “best” performance at a threshold of −20 dB. Further work is proposed to apply this result to improving corrections for VPR at longer range, where the limited effect of beam broadening on LDR peaks could provide advantages over other available methods.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:73691
Uncontrolled Keywords:Atmospheric Science
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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