Automated rain rate estimates using the Ka-band ARM zenith radar (KAZR)
- 1Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA
- 2Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
- 3Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado and NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado, USA
Abstract. The use of millimeter wavelength radars for probing precipitation has recently gained interest. However, estimation of precipitation variables is not straightforward due to strong signal attenuation, radar receiver saturation, antenna wet radome effects and natural microphysical variability. Here, an automated algorithm is developed for routinely retrieving rain rates from the profiling Ka-band (35-GHz) ARM (Atmospheric Radiation Measurement) zenith radars (KAZR). A 1-dimensional, simple, steady state microphysical model is used to estimate impacts of microphysical processes and attenuation on the profiles of radar observables at 35-GHz and thus provide criteria for identifying situations when attenuation or microphysical processes dominate KAZR observations. KAZR observations are also screened for signal saturation and wet radome effects. The algorithm is implemented in two steps: high rain rates are retrieved by using the amount of attenuation in rain layers, while low rain rates are retrieved from the reflectivity–rain rate (Ze–R) relation. Observations collected by the KAZR, rain gauge, disdrometer and scanning precipitating radars during the DYNAMO/AMIE field campaign at the Gan Island of the tropical Indian Ocean are used to validate the proposed approach. The differences in the rain accumulation from the proposed algorithm are quantified. The results indicate that the proposed algorithm has a potential for deriving continuous rain rate statistics in the tropics.