Articles | Volume 8, issue 1
Research article
16 Jan 2015
Research article |  | 16 Jan 2015

Correction of raindrop size distributions measured by Parsivel disdrometers, using a two-dimensional video disdrometer as a reference

T. H. Raupach and A. Berne

Abstract. The raindrop size distribution (DSD) quantifies the microstructure of rainfall and is critical to studying precipitation processes. We present a method to improve the accuracy of DSD measurements from Parsivel (particle size and velocity) disdrometers, using a two-dimensional video disdrometer (2DVD) as a reference instrument. Parsivel disdrometers bin raindrops into velocity and equivolume diameter classes, but may misestimate the number of drops per class. In our correction method, drop velocities are corrected with reference to theoretical models of terminal drop velocity. We define a filter for raw disdrometer measurements to remove particles that are unlikely to be plausible raindrops. Drop concentrations are corrected such that on average the Parsivel concentrations match those recorded by a 2DVD. The correction can be trained on and applied to data from both generations of OTT Parsivel disdrometers, and indeed any disdrometer in general. The method was applied to data collected during field campaigns in Mediterranean France for a network of first- and second-generation Parsivel disdrometers, and on a first-generation Parsivel in Payerne, Switzerland. We compared the moments of the resulting DSDs to those of a collocated 2DVD, and the resulting DSD-derived rain rates to collocated rain gauges. The correction improved the accuracy of the moments of the Parsivel DSDs, and in the majority of cases the rain rate match with collocated rain gauges was improved. In addition, the correction was shown to be similar for two different climatologies, suggesting its general applicability.

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Short summary
Using the 2-D video disdrometer (2DVD) as a reference, a technique to correct the spectra of drop size distribution (DSD) measured by Parsivel disdrometers (1st and 2nd generation) is proposed. The measured velocities and equivolume diameters are corrected to better match those from the 2DVD. The correction is evaluated using data from southern France and the Swiss Plateau. It appears to be similar for both climatologies, and to improve the consistency with colocated 2DVDs and rain gauges.