Statistical characteristics of raindrop size distribution during rainy seasons in the Beijing urban area and implications for radar rainfall estimation
Raindrop size distribution (DSD) information is fundamental in understanding the precipitation microphysics and quantitative precipitation estimation, especially in complex terrain or urban environments which are known for complicated rainfall mechanism and high spatial and temporal variability. In this study, the DSD characteristics of rainy seasons in the Beijing urban area are extensively investigated using 5-year DSD observations from a Parsivel2 disdrometer located at Tsinghua University. The results show that the DSD samples with rain rate < 1 mm h−1 account for more than half of total observations. The mean values of the normalized intercept parameter (log 10Nw) and the mass-weighted mean diameter (Dm) of convective rain are higher than that of stratiform rain, and there is a clear boundary between the two types of rain in terms of the scattergram of log 10Nw versus Dm. The convective rain in Beijing is neither continental nor maritime, owing to the particular location and local topography. As the rainfall intensity increases, the DSD spectra become higher and wider, but they still have peaks around diameter D∼0.5 mm. The midsize drops contribute most towards accumulated rainwater. The Dm and log 10Nw values exhibit a diurnal cycle and an annual cycle. In addition, at the stage characterized by an abrupt rise of urban heat island (UHI) intensity as well as the stage of strong UHI intensity during the day, DSD shows higher Dm values and lower log 10Nw values. The localized radar reflectivity (Z) and rain rate (R) relations (Z=aRb) show substantial differences compared to the commonly used NEXRAD relationships, and the polarimetric radar algorithms R(Kdp), R(Kdp, ZDR), and R(ZH, ZDR) show greater potential for rainfall estimation.