Identifying insects, clouds, and precipitation using vertically pointing polarimetric radar Doppler velocity spectra

Williams, Christopher R.; Johnson, Karen L.; Giangrande, Scott E.; Hardin, Joseph C.; Öktem, Ruşen; Romps, David M.

This study presents a method to identify and distinguish insects, clouds, and precipitation in 35 GHz (Ka-band) vertically pointing polarimetric radar Doppler velocity power spectra and then produce masks indicating the occurrence of hydrometeors (i.e., clouds or precipitation) and insects at each range gate. The polarimetric radar used in this study transmits a linear polarized wave and receives signals in collinear (CoPol) and cross-linear (XPol) polarized channels. The measured CoPol and XPol Doppler velocity spectra are used to calculate linear depolarization ratio (LDR) spectra. The insect–hydrometeor discrimination method uses CoPol and XPol spectral information in two separate algorithms with their spectral results merged and then filtered into single value products at each range gate. The first algorithm discriminates between insects and clouds in the CoPol Doppler velocity power spectra based on the spectra texture, or spectra roughness, which varies due to the scattering characteristics of insects vs. cloud particles. The second algorithm distinguishes insects from raindrops and ice particles by exploiting the larger Doppler velocity spectra LDR produced by asymmetric insects. Since XPol power return is always less than CoPol power return for the same target (i.e., insect or hydrometeor), fewer insects and hydrometeors are detected in the LDR algorithm than the CoPol algorithm, which drives the need for a CoPol based algorithm. After performing both CoPol and LDR detection algorithms, regions of insect and hydrometeor scattering from both algorithms are combined in the Doppler velocity spectra domain and then filtered to produce a binary hydrometeor mask indicating the occurrence of cloud, raindrops, or ice particles at each range gate. Forty-seven summertime days were processed with the insect–hydrometeor discrimination method using US Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program Ka-band zenith pointing radar observations in northern Oklahoma, USA. For these 47 d, over 70 % of the hydrometeor mask column bottoms were within inline-formula±100 m of simultaneous ceilometer cloud base heights. All datasets and images are available to the public on the DOE ARM repository.

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Williams, Christopher R. / Johnson, Karen L. / Giangrande, Scott E. / et al: Identifying insects, clouds, and precipitation using vertically pointing polarimetric radar Doppler velocity spectra. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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