Dual-polarized quantitative precipitation estimation as a function of range

Simpson, Micheal J.; Fox, Neil I.

Since the advent of dual-polarization radar technology, many studies have been conducted to determine the extent to which the differential reflectivity (ZDR) and specific differential phase shift (KDP) add benefits to estimating rain rates (inline-formulaR) compared to reflectivity (inline-formulaZ) alone. It has been previously noted that this new technology provides significant improvement to rain-rate estimation, primarily for ranges within 125 km of the radar. Beyond this range, it is unclear as to whether the National Weather Service (NWS) conventional inline-formulaR(Z)-convective algorithm is superior, as little research has investigated radar precipitation estimate performance at larger ranges. The current study investigates the performance of three radars – St. Louis (KLSX), Kansas City (KEAX), and Springfield (KSGF), MO – with 15 tipping bucket gauges serving as ground truth to the radars. With over 300 h of precipitation data being analyzed for the current study, it was found that, in general, performance degraded with range beyond, approximately, 150 km from each of the radars. Probability of detection (PoD) in addition to bias values decreased, while the false alarm rates increased as range increased. Bright-band contamination was observed to play a potential role as large increases in the absolute bias and overall error values near 120 km for the cool season and 150 km in the warm season. Furthermore, upwards of 60 % of the total error was due to precipitation being falsely estimated, while 20 % of the total error was due to missed precipitation. Correlation coefficient values increased by as much as 0.4 when these instances were removed from the analyses (i.e., hits only). Overall, due to the lowest normalized standard error (NSE) of less than 1.0, a National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) inline-formulaR(inline-formulaZ,ZDR) equation was determined to be the most robust, while a inline-formulaR(ZDR,KDP) algorithm recorded NSE values as high as 5. The addition of dual-polarized technology was shown to estimate quantitative precipitation estimates (QPEs) better than the conventional equation. The analyses further our understanding of the strengths and limitations of the Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD) system overall and from a seasonal perspective.

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Simpson, Micheal J. / Fox, Neil I.: Dual-polarized quantitative precipitation estimation as a function of range. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Micheal J. Simpson

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