ABSTRACTThe NOAA W-band radar was deployed on a P-3 aircraft during a study of storm fronts off the U.S. West Coast in 2015 in the second CalWater (CalWater-2) field program. This paper presents an analysis of measured equivalent radar reflectivity factor Zem profiles to estimate the path-averaged precipitation rate and profiles of precipitation microphysics. Several approaches are explored using information derived from attenuation of Zem as a result of absorption and scattering by raindrops. The first approach uses the observed decrease of Zem with range below the aircraft to estimate column mean precipitation rates. A hybrid approach that combines Zem in light rain and attenuation in stronger rain performed best. The second approach estimates path-integrated attenuation (PIA) via the difference in measured and calculated normalized radar cross sections (NRCSm and NRCSc, respectively) retrieved from the ocean surface. The retrieved rain rates are compared to estimates from two other systems on the P-3: a Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR) and a Wide-Swath Radar Altimeter (WSRA). The W-band radar gives reasonable values for rain rates in the range 0–10 mm h−1 with an uncertainty on the order of 1 mm h−1. Mean profiles of Zem, raindrop Doppler velocity, attenuation, and precipitation rate in bins of rain rate are also computed. A method for correcting measured profiles of Zem for attenuation to estimate profiles of nonattenuated profiles of Ze is examined. Good results are obtained by referencing the surface boundary condition to the NRCS values of PIA. Limitations of the methods are discussed.
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Mar 9, 2018
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