212 A Comparison of Precipitation Occurrence from the Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor System and the CloudSat Cloud Profiling Radar

Thursday, 17 September 2015
Oklahoma F (Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center )
Mark A. Smalley, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; and T. S. L'Ecuyer and P. E. Kirstetter

High quality measurements of precipitation over the United States are critical for diverse applications ranging from flood warnings, soil moisture, and model verification. Precipitation accumulations from the Mutli-Radar Multi-Sensor System (MRMS) are employed in a variety of these applications and benefit from high spatial and temporal sampling, quality control, surface rain gauge inputs, and real-time data transmission. Previous studies have demonstrated limitations inherent to NEXRAD surface radar measurements, namely undetected precipitation in cold temperatures, in the western United States where radar coverage is sparse, and near topography. While its sampling is too limited for applications requiring high-temporal resolution precipitation observations, the space-borne 94 GHz Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR) aboard the CloudSat is ideally suited for assessing the precipitation detection characteristics of operational networks due to its high spatial resolution and -30 dBZ sensitivity. On the other hand, CloudSat experiences its own difficulties in identifying precipitation, including surface clutter contamination and partial diurnal sampling. This study will utilize three years of collocated MRMS and CloudSat precipitation observations to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each for precipitation detection. The 5 minute, 2 km sampling by the MRMS allows precise matchups to the ~1.5 km, instantaneous measurements from the CPR. This matched dataset will be used to quantify the effects of sampling, ground clutter, and attenuation on CloudSat precipitation occurrence estimates and those of sensitivity, topography, beam curvature, and near-surface air temperature on derived MRMS accumulations.
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