Multi-sensor analysis of convective activity in central Italy during the HyMeX SOP 1.1
- 1CNR – Istituto di Scienze dell'Atmosfera e del Clima, Rome, Italy
- 2NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, USA
- 3Department of Physics, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy
- 4Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, USA
- 5NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
Abstract. A multi-sensor analysis of convective precipitation events that occurred in central Italy in autumn 2012 during the HyMeX (Hydrological cycle in the Mediterranean experiment) Special Observation Period (SOP) 1.1 is presented. Various microphysical properties of liquid and solid hydrometeors are examined to assess their relationship with lightning activity. The instrumentation used consisted of a C-band dual-polarization weather radar, a 2-D video disdrometer, and the LINET lightning network. Results of T-matrix simulation for graupel were used to (i) tune a fuzzy logic hydrometeor classification algorithm based on Liu and Chandrasekar (2000) for the detection of graupel from C-band dual-polarization radar measurements and (ii) to retrieve graupel ice water content. Graupel mass from radar measurements was related to lightning activity. Three significant case studies were analyzed and linear relations between the total mass of graupel and number of LINET strokes were found with different slopes depending on the nature of the convective event (such as updraft strength and freezing level height) and the radar observational geometry. A high coefficient of determination (R2 = 0.856) and a slope in agreement with satellite measurements and model results for one of the case studies (15 October 2012) were found. Results confirm that one of the key features in the electrical charging of convective clouds is the ice content, although it is not the only one. Parameters of the gamma raindrop size distribution measured by a 2-D video disdrometer revealed the transition from a convective to a stratiform regime. The raindrop size spectra measured by a 2-D video disdrometer were used to partition rain into stratiform and convective classes. These results are further analyzed in relation to radar measurements and to the number of strokes. Lightning activity was not always recorded when the precipitation regime was classified as convective rain. High statistical scores were found for relationships relating lightning activity to graupel aloft.