Radar techniques for identifying precipitation type and estimating quantity of precipitation
Earth and related Environmental sciences
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The digital revolution at the end of the 20th century was reflected in a new generation of radars with fully digitized outputs, which has considerably facilitated the quantitative use of radar information. However, errors in radar measurements became more apparent, which could result in a loss of faith in the ability of radar to measure precipitation effectively. In fact, the initial expectations of the potential of radar were probably too high, especially for quantitative precipitation measurement. Nowadays, when the limitations of weather radars, including sophisticated multiparameter (dual polarization) radar, are better known, the role of radar has to be a slightly redefined. It should be no longer considered as a competitor of rain gauges but rather as a complementary source of information that must be used in conjunction with other relevant meteorological (and hydrological) information. This has already been reflected in literature and even some operational systems use the “multisensor” approach (Fulton et al.; 1995, Golding, 1998). The use of radar for quantitative precipitation estimation has to be accompanied also by information that can provide some assessment of data quality. For instance, one of the basic indices can be the “time coverage” or “radar scans availability” (the ratio of number of real measurements to the theoretically possible; if the radar measures without failures or gaps, the percentage is 100%). Although it is not easy to define a more general “quality index” of the reliability of the radar measurement, considerable effort in this field was taken in the framework of COST 717 Action (Michelson et al.; 2004). Nevertheless, at least visual inspection of the radar performance in comparison with other data (e.g. rain gauges or satellites) is highly recommended, along with an assessment of upcoming precipitation processes with the help of NWP models and observations.
CitationSalek, M.; Cheze, J.-L.; Handwerker, J.; Delobbe, L.; Uijlenhoet, R. (2004). Radar techniques for identifying precipitation type and estimating quantity of precipitation. , Issue COST 717 Working Document WDF_01_200407_1, IRM,