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Observational and modeling study of ice hydrometeor radar dual-wavelength ratios
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    J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol. (2019) 58 (9): 2005–2017
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  • Description:
    The influence of ice hydrometeor shape on the dual-wavelength ratio (DWR) of radar reflectivities at millimeter-wavelength frequencies is studied theoretically and on the basis of observations. Data from dual-frequency (Ka–W bands) radar show that, for vertically pointing measurements, DWR increasing trends with reflectivity Ze are very pronounced when Ka-band Ze is greater than about 0 dBZ and that DWR and Ze values are usually well correlated. This correlation is explained by strong relations between hydrometeor characteristic size and both of these radar variables. The observed DWR variability for a given level of reflectivity is as large as 8 dB, which is in part due to changes in mean hydrometeor shape as expressed in terms of the particle aspect ratio. Hydrometeors with a higher degree of nonsphericity exhibit lower DWR values when compared with quasi-spherical particles because of near-zenith reflectivity enhancements for particles outside the Rayleigh-scattering regime. When particle mass–size relations do not change significantly (e.g., for low-rime conditions), DWR can be used to differentiate between quasi-spherical and highly nonspherical hydrometeors because (for a given reflectivity value) DWR tends to increase as particles become more spherical. Another approach for differentiating among different degrees of nonsphericity for larger scatterers is based on analyzing DWR changes as a function of radar elevation angle. These changes are more pronounced for highly nonspherical particles and can exceed 10 dB. Measurements of snowfall spatiotemporally collocated with spaceborne CloudSat W-band radar and ground-based S-band operational weather radars also indicate that DWR values are generally smaller for ice hydrometeors with higher degrees of nonsphericity, which, for the same level of S-band reflectivity, exhibit greater differential reflectivity values.
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