21 Oct 2021
21 Oct 2021
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Retrievals of ice microphysics using dual-wavelength polarimetric radar observations during stratiform precipitation events

Eleni Tetoni1, Florian Ewald1, Martin Hagen1, Gregor Köcher2, Tobias Zinner2, and Silke Groß1 Eleni Tetoni et al.
  • 1Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 2Meteorologisches Institut, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany

Abstract. Ice growth processes within clouds affect the type as well as the amount of precipitation. Hence, the importance of an accurate representation of ice microphysics in numerical weather and numerical climate models has been confirmed by several studies. To better constrain ice processes in models, we need to study ice cloud regions before and during monitored precipitation events. For this purpose, two radar instruments facing each other were used to collect complementary measurements. The C-band POLDIRAD weather radar from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen and the Ka-band MIRA-35 cloud radar from the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich (LMU) were used to monitor stratiform precipitation in the vertical cross-section area between both instruments. The logarithmic difference of radar reflectivities at two different wavelengths (54.5 and 8.5 mm), known as dual-wavelength ratio, was exploited to provide information about the size of the detected ice hydrometeors, taking advantage of the different scattering behavior in the Rayleigh and Mie regime. Along with the dual-wavelength ratio, differential radar reflectivity measurements from POLDIRAD provided information about the apparent shape of the detected ice hydrometeors. Scattering simulations using the T-matrix method were performed for oblate and horizontally aligned prolate ice spheroids of varying shape and size using a realistic particle size distribution and a well-established mass-size relationship. The combination of dual-wavelength ratio, radar reflectivity and differential radar reflectivity measurements as well as scattering simulations was used for the development of a novel retrieval for ice cloud microphysics. The development of the retrieval scheme also comprised a method to estimate the hydrometeor attenuation in both radar bands. To demonstrate this approach, a feasibility study was conducted on three stratiform snow events which were monitored over Munich in January 2019. The ice retrieval can obtain ice particle shape, size and mass which are in line with differential radar reflectivity, dual-wavelength ratio and radar reflectivity observations when a suitable mass-size relation is used and when ice hydrometeors are assumed to be represented by oblate ice spheroids. A furthermore finding was the importance of the differential radar reflectivity for the particle size retrieval directly above the MIRA-35 cloud radar. Especially for that observation geometry, the simultaneous slantwise observation from the polarimetric weather radar POLDIRAD could reduce ambiguities in retrieval of the ice particle size by constraining the ice particle shape.

Eleni Tetoni et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2021-216', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Nov 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Eleni Tetoni, 15 Jan 2022
  • CC1: 'Comment on amt-2021-216', Jana Mendrok, 25 Nov 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on CC1', Eleni Tetoni, 15 Jan 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2021-216', Anonymous Referee #3, 30 Nov 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Eleni Tetoni, 15 Jan 2022

Eleni Tetoni et al.

Eleni Tetoni et al.


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Short summary
We use the C-band POLDIRAD and the Ka-band MIRA-35 to perform snowfall dual-wavelength polarimetric radar measurements. We develop an ice microphysics retrieval for mass, apparent shape and median size of the particle size distribution by comparing observations to T-matrix ice spheroid simulations while varying the mass-size relationship. We furthermore show how the polarimetric measurements from POLDIRAD help to narrow down ambiguities between ice particle shape and size.