68 Sensitivity of spaceborne and ground radar comparison results to data analysis methods and constraints

Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Grand Ballroom (William Penn Hotel)
K. Robert Morris, SAIC, Greenbelt, MD; and M. R. Schwaller
Manuscript (1.0 MB)

Handout (2.3 MB)

With the availability of active weather radar observations from space from the Precipitation Radar (PR) on board the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, numerous studies have been performed comparing PR reflectivity and derived rain rates to similar observations from ground-based weather radars (GR). These studies have used a variety of algorithms to compute matching PR and GR volumes for comparison. Most studies have used a fixed 3-dimensional Cartesian grid centered on the ground radar, onto which the PR and GR data are interpolated using a proprietary approach and/or commonly available GR analysis software (e.g., SPRINT, REORDER). Other studies have focused on the intersection of the PR and GR viewing geometries either explicitly or using a hybrid of the fixed grid and PR/GR common fields of view.

For the Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) of the upcoming Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, a prototype DPR/GR comparison algorithm based on similar TRMM PR data has been developed that defines the common volumes in terms of the geometric intersection of PR and GR rays, where smoothing of the PR and GR data are minimized and no interpolation is performed. The PR and GR volume-averaged reflectivity values of each sample volume are accompanied by descriptive metadata, for attributes including the variability and maximum of the reflectivity within the sample volume, and the fraction of range gates in the sample average having reflectivity values above an adjustable detection threshold (typically taken to be 18 dBZ for the PR). Sample volumes are further characterized by rain type (Stratiform or Convective), proximity to the melting layer, underlying surface (land/water/mixed), and the time difference between the PR and GR observations.

The mean reflectivity differences between the PR and GR can differ between data sets produced by the different analysis methods; and for the GPM prototype, by the type of constraints and categorization applied to the data. In this paper, we will show results comparing the 3-D gridded analysis “black box” approach to the GPM prototype volume-matching approach, using matching TRMM PR and WSR-88D ground radar data. The affects of applying data constraints and data categorizations on the volume-matched data to the results will be shown, and explanations of the differences in terms of data and analysis algorithm characteristics will be presented. Implications of the differences to the determination of PR/DPR calibration differences and use of ground radar data to evaluate the PR and DPR attenuation correction algorithms will be discussed.

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