34th Conference on Radar Meteorology


Comparing TRMM and ground-based radar observations in Israel during intense precipitation events occurred in March 2003

Marco Gabella, MeteoSwiss, Locarno, Switzerland; and E. Morin

Among many esteems of the first ever speceborne meteorological radar, one is certainly represented by its long-term, continuously monitored electronic stability. The calibration factor is assumed to have a remarkable accuracy: its uncertainty is smaller than 1 dB. Consequently, TPR provides the possibility of assessing the average bias of ground-based radars around the world. Quantitative assessments of this kind have been performed, e. g., in Florida, Colorado, Texas, Marshall Islands, Australia and Cyprus. In this last case, a novel comparison between the TPR and the ground-based radar (GR) was also suggested, based on the fact that the GR and the TPR provide a complementary view: the (GR) measures rain from a lateral direction, while the space-borne radar sees it from the top. On the one hand, the lateral GR measurements are used for quantitative precipitation estimation at distances between 10 km (or even less) and 100 km (or even more). Because of this large ratio of distances, the scattering volume changes by a factor of over 100, since the volume increases with the square of the distance. On the other hand, the scattering volume of TPR has a similar size in all the locations. Its size is not correlated to the distance between the echo and the GR. This advantage of TPR stimulated the idea of using TRMM radar to estimate the influence of sampling volume of the ground-based radar. Our analysis is based on the average, linear radar reflectivity, in circular rings around the GR site as a function of the range, D, from the GR site. The lateral GR measurements are acquired, in the present case, at distances between 10 and 120 km. For both radars, we compute the average Z in the same circular ring. We use 8 rings “centered” at 25, 50, 65, 75, 85, 95, 105, 115 km. Rings are 10 km wide, but the 1st and 2nd ones that are 30 and 20 km wide. Hence, the volumes used to determine the averages are large, even much larger than the rather coarse TPR pulse volume resolution. The large sampling volume reduces mismatches caused by different beam widths and by changes in the weather in space and time. One effect of the beam divergence is a 1/r^2 range-dependence that is already corrected by the radar equation. A second phenomenon is the influence of non-homogeneous beam filling in combination with the average decrease of the vertical reflectivity profile with height, which is the focus of this paper. As an example, at longer ranges of the GR, the lower part of the volume could be in rain, whereas the upper part of the same pulse could be filled with snow, or even be without an echo. This influence becomes more important at longer ranges, since the scattering volume increases in size. Let and be values of average reflectivity, averaged in azimuth at distance D from the GR for both the GR and the TPR. These two variables show similar behavior, except for the decreased sensitivity of the GR with distance. Factor F(D) = ()/() is statistically explained in this paper using a regression between Log(F(D)) and Log(D). The slope in this regression reflects the deviation of the radar sensitivity from the theoretical 1/r^2 law, which would require constant angular resolution with range and constant vertical reflectivity profile. Consequently, negative slope values can be expected and were in fact found in Cyprus using 4 overpasses in February 2002 and 2003. Here the analysis has been repeated in Israel using 5 rainy overpasses in March 2003. Also in this case the sensor is a C-band radar. Reflectivity echoes acquired using the two lowest elevations have been compared with the lowest TPR radar reflectivity values, the so-called NearSurfZ. Also with the Israeli radar a negative slope is found: as expected, the effect is much more evident using the second elevation, which is obviously more affected by overshooting. Unfortunately, the retrieved slope variability is much larger than what obtained in Cyprus. Consequently, a more robust assessment of bias and range dependence shall be based on the integral of several overpasses rather than derived from single overpasses. Adding up, the TRMM radar offers the unique opportunity of validating Ground-based Radars (GR). The algorithm developed, allows a quantitative comparison between TRMM radar and any ground-based radar worldwide. The concept allows not only quantifying the average bias of the GR with respect to the TPR, but also attempts at retrieving the dependence of the GR data on the range. It is extremely valuable in a Global Precipitation Measuring perspective.

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Session 6A, Spaceborne Radar II
Tuesday, 6 October 2009, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Auditorium

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