On the consistency of 2-D video disdrometers in measuring microphysical parameters of solid precipitation
- Institute of Radiation Protection, Helmholtz Zentrum München, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany
Abstract. Detailed characterization and classification of precipitation is an important task in atmospheric research. Line scanning 2-D video disdrometer devices are well established for rain observations. The two orthogonal views taken of each hydrometeor passing the sensitive area of the instrument qualify these devices especially for detailed characterization of nonsymmetric solid hydrometeors. However, in case of solid precipitation, problems related to the matching algorithm have to be considered and the user must be aware of the limited spatial resolution when size and shape descriptors are analyzed. Clarifying the potential of 2-D video disdrometers in deriving size, velocity and shape parameters from single recorded pictures is the aim of this work. The need of implementing a matching algorithm suitable for mixed- and solid-phase precipitation is highlighted as an essential step in data evaluation. For this purpose simple reproducible experiments with solid steel spheres and irregularly shaped Styrofoam particles are conducted. Self-consistency of shape parameter measurements is tested in 38 cases of real snowfall. As a result, it was found that reliable size and shape characterization with a relative standard deviation of less than 5 % is only possible for particles larger than 1 mm. For particles between 0.5 and 1.0 mm the relative standard deviation can grow up to 22 % for the volume, 17 % for size parameters and 14 % for shape descriptors. Testing the adapted matching algorithm with a reproducible experiment with Styrofoam particles, a mismatch probability of less than 3 % was found. For shape parameter measurements in case of real solid-phase precipitation, the 2-DVD shows self-consistent behavior.