AbstractHigh temporal and spatial resolution observations of precipitation occurrence from the NEXRAD-based Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor System (MRMS) are compared to matched observations from CloudSat for three years over the contiguous United States (CONUS). Across the CONUS, precipitation is generally reported more frequently by CloudSat (7.8%) than by MRMS (6.3%), with dependence on factors such as the NEXRAD beam height, the near-surface air temperature, and the surface elevation. There is general agreement between ground-based and satellite-derived precipitation events over flat surfaces, especially in widespread precipitation events and when the NEXRAD beam heights are low. Within 100 km of the nearest NEXRAD site, MRMS reports a precipitation frequency of 7.54% while CloudSat reports 7.38%. However, further inspection reveals offsetting biases between the products, where CloudSat reports more snow and MRMS reports more rain. The magnitudes of these discrepancies correlate with elevation, but they are observed in both the complex terrain of the Rocky Mountains and the relatively flat Midwestern areas of the CONUS. The findings advocate for caution when using MRMS frequency and accumulations in complex terrain, when temperatures are below freezing, and at ranges greater than 100 km. A multi-resolution analysis shows that no more than 1.88% CloudSat pixels over flat terrain are incorrectly identified as non-precipitating as a result of shallow showers residing the CloudSat clutter-filled blind zone when near-surface air temperatures are above 15°C.
Journal of Hydrometeorology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Mar 30, 2017
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