01 Sep 2021

01 Sep 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Snow Microphysical Retrieval from the NASA D3R Radar During ICE-POP 2018

S. Joseph Munchak1,a, Robert S. Schrom1,2, Charles N. Helms1,2, and Ali Tokay1,3 S. Joseph Munchak et al.
  • 1Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 2Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD, USA
  • 3Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Catonsville, MD, USA
  • anow at: The Tomorrow Companies, Inc.

Abstract. A method is developed to use both polarimetric and dual-frequency radar measurements to retrieve microphysical properties of falling snow. It is applied to the Ku- and Ka-band measurements of the NASA Dual-polarization, Dual-frequency Doppler Radar (D3R) obtained during the International Collaborative Experiment for PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympics (ICE-POP 2018) field campaign, and incorporates the Atmospheric Radiative Transfer Simulator (ARTS) microwave single scattering property database for oriented particles. The retrieval uses optimal estimation to solve for several parameters that describe the particle size distribution (PSD), relative contribution of pristine, aggregate, and rimed ice species, and the orientation distribution along an entire radial simultaneously. Examination of Jacobian matrices and averaging kernels show that the dual wavelength ratio (DWR) measurements provide information regarding the characteristic particle size, and to a lesser extent, the rime fraction and shape parameter of the size distribution, whereas the polarimetric measurements provide information regarding the mass fraction of pristine particles and their characteristic size and orientation distribution. Thus, by combining the dual-frequency and polarimetric measurements, some ambiguities can be resolved that should allow a better determination of the PSD and bulk microphysical properties (e.g., snowfall rate) than can be retrieved from single-frequency polarimetric measurements or dual-frequency, single-polarization measurements.

The D3R ICE-POP retrievals were validated using Precipitation Imaging Package (PIP) and Pluvio weighing gauge measurements taken nearby at the May Hills ground site. The PIP measures the snow PSD directly, and its measurements can be used to derived the snowfall rate (volumetric and water equivalent), mean volume-weighted particle size, and effective density, as well as particle aspect ratio and orientation. Four retrieval experiments were performed to evaluate the utility of different measurement combinations: Ku-only, DWR-only, Ku-pol, and All-obs. In terms of correlation, the volumetric snowfall rate (r = 0.95) and snow water equivalent rate (r = 0.92) were best retrieved by the Ku-pol method, while the DWR-only method had the lowest magnitude bias for these parameters (−31 % and −8 %, respectively). The methods that incorporated DWR also had the best correlation to particle size (r = 0.74 and r = 0.71 for DWR-only and All-obs, respectively), although none of the methods retrieved density particularly well (r = 0.43 for All-obs). The ability of the measurements to retrieve mean aspect ratio was also inconclusive, although the polarimetric methods (Ku-pol and All-obs) had reduced biases and MAE relative to the Ku-only and DWR-only methods. The significant biases in particle size and snowfall rate appeared to be related to biases in the measured DWR, emphasizing the need for accurate DWR measurements and frequent calibration in future D3R deployments.

S. Joseph Munchak 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-2021-264', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Sep 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', S. Joseph Munchak, 26 Nov 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2021-264', Anonymous Referee #2, 23 Oct 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', S. Joseph Munchak, 26 Nov 2021

S. Joseph Munchak et al.

S. Joseph Munchak et al.


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Short summary
The ability to measure snowfall with weather radar has greatly advanced with the development of techniques that utilize dual-polarization measurements, which provide information about the snow particle shape and orientation, and multi-frequency measurements, which provide information about size and density. This study combines these techniques with the NASA D3R radar, which provides dual-frequency polarimetric measurements, with data that was observed during the 2018 Winter Olympics.