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Toward Improving Ice Water Content and Snow-Rate Retrievals from Radars. Part I: X and W Bands, Emphasizing CloudSat
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    Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 55(9), 2063-2090.
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  • Description:
    Microphysical data and radar reflectivities (Z(e), -15 < Z(e) < 10 dB) measured from flights during the NASA Tropical Clouds, Convection, Chemistry and Climate field program are used to relate Z(e) at X and W band to measured ice water content (IWC). Because nearly collocated Z(e) and IWC were each directly measured, Z(e)-IWC relationships could be developed directly. Using the particle size distributions and ice particle masses evaluated based on the direct IWC measurements, reflectivity-snowfall rate (Z(e)-S) relationships were also derived. For -15 < Z(e) < 10 dB, the relationships herein yield larger IWC and S than given by the retrievals and earlier relationships. The sensitivity of radar reflectivity to particle size distribution and size-dependent mass, shape, and orientation introduces significant uncertainties in retrieved quantities since these factors vary substantially globally. To partially circumvent these uncertainties, a W-band Z(e)-S relationship is developed by relating four years of global CloudSat reflectivity observations measured immediately above the melting layer to retrieved rain rates at the base of the melting layer. The supporting assumptions are that the water mass flux is constant through the melting layer, that the air temperature is nearly 0 degrees C, and that the retrieved rain rates are well constrained. Where Z(e) > 10 dB, this Z(e)-S relationship conforms well to earlier relationships, but for Z(e) < 10 dB it yields higher IWC and S. Because not all retrieval algorithms estimate either or both IWC and S, the authors use a large aircraft-derived dataset to relate IWC and S. The IWC can then be estimated from S and vice versa.
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