Articles | Volume 6, issue 10
Research article
21 Oct 2013
Research article |  | 21 Oct 2013

Detection of potentially hazardous convective clouds with a dual-polarized C-band radar

A. Adachi, T. Kobayashi, H. Yamauchi, and S. Onogi

Abstract. A method for forecasting very short-term rainfall to detect potentially hazardous convective cloud that produces heavy local rainfall was developed using actual volumetric C-band polarimetric radar data. Because the rainfall estimation algorithm used in this method removed the effect of ice particles based on polarimetric measurements, it was immune to the high reflectivity associated with hail. The reliability of the algorithm was confirmed by comparing the rainfall rate estimated from the polarimetric radar measurements at the lowest elevation angle with that obtained from optical disdrometers on the ground. The rainfall rate estimated from polarimetric data agreed well with the results obtained from the disdrometers, and was much more reliable than results derived from reflectivity alone.

Two small cumulus cells were analyzed, one of which developed and later produced heavy rainfall, whereas the other did not. Observations made by polarimetric radar with a volumetric scan revealed that a high vertical maximum intensity of rainfall rate and a vertical area of enhanced differential reflectivity extending above the freezing level, often termed a high ZDR column, were clearly formed about 10 min prior to the onset of heavy rainfall on the ground. The onset time of the heavy rainfall could be estimated in advance from the polarimetric data, which agreed fairly well with observations. These polarimetric characteristics were not observed for the cumulus cell that did not produce heavy rainfall. The results suggest that both the vertical maximum intensity of the rainfall rate and a high ZDR column, estimated from polarimetric measurements, can be used to identify potentially hazardous clouds. Furthermore, this study shows that polarimetric radar measurements with high spatial and temporal resolutions are invaluable for disaster reduction.

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