Dual-wavelength radar technique development for snow rate estimation: a case study from GCPEx

Huang, Gwo-Jong; Bringi, Viswanathan N.; Newman, Andrew J.; Lee, Gyuwon; Moisseev, Dmitri; Notaroš, Branislav M.

quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) of snowfall has generally been expressed in power-law form between equivalent radar reflectivity factor (Ze) and liquid equivalent snow rate (SR). It is known that there is large variability in the prefactor of the power law due to changes in particle size distribution (PSD), density, and fall velocity, whereas the variability of the exponent is considerably smaller. The dual-wavelength radar reflectivity ratio (DWR) technique can improve SR accuracy by estimating one of the PSD parameters (characteristic diameter), thus reducing the variability due to the prefactor. The two frequencies commonly used in dual-wavelength techniques are Ku- and Ka-bands. The basic idea of DWR is that the snow particle size-to-wavelength ratio is falls in the Rayleigh region at Ku-band but in the Mie region at Ka-band.

We propose a method for snow rate estimation by using NASA D3R radar DWR and Ka-band reflectivity observations collected during a long-duration synoptic snow event on 30–31 January 2012 during the GCPEx (GPM Cold-season Precipitation Experiment). Since the particle mass can be estimated using 2-D video disdrometer (2DVD) fall speed data and hydrodynamic theory, we simulate the DWR and compare it directly with D3R radar measurements. We also use the 2DVD-based mass to compute the 2DVD-based SR. Using three different mass estimation methods, we arrive at three respective sets of Z–SR and SR(Zh, DWR) relationships. We then use these relationships with D3R measurements to compute radar-based SR. Finally, we validate our method by comparing the D3R radar-retrieved SR with accumulated SR directly measured by a well-shielded Pluvio gauge for the entire synoptic event.

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Huang, Gwo-Jong / Bringi, Viswanathan N. / Newman, Andrew J. / et al: Dual-wavelength radar technique development for snow rate estimation: a case study from GCPEx. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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